You may have heard a lot about nurse mentors lately. Many young or inexperienced nurses work with a nurse who has more experience in a specific nursing field than they do and is willing to share their knowledge and time. Mentoring is usually informal, and meetings can take place in a variety of venues—including over lunch, on Zoom, or in private settings. A mentor is often regarded as a role model and may advocate on behalf of a mentee. There are also professional mentors who charge a fee for mentorship. This relationship can be used to advance the nurse’s career and may even turn into a coaching situation as time goes by. A formal / professional mentoring relationship can be arranged through nursing schools, nurses’ association, hospitals or other groups. It is important to remember that the mentoring is relationship-based, and coaching is more task-oriented.
CoachingCoaching is extremely task-oriented and focuses on specific skills and performance. The coaching student is usually looking to improve or master their skills and advance their career. Coaching can be a short-term or long-term contract, and lasts as long as necessary to accomplish the goal. Coaching is typically formal and structured; the sessions are regularly scheduled at specific venues. A coach is not typically viewed or regarded as a role model, and the main role of the coach is to keep the coaching student on task, and encouraged.
What Makes a Good Mentor?The best mentors share character traits such as:
- Encouragement A good mentor will remain upbeat and offer encouragement, especially when the nurse is struggling.
- Patient A good mentor is calm, and is capable of focusing when dealing with difficult challenges.
- Wisdom A good mentor is wise, and is able to assess situations and provide useful solutions and advice.
- Clarity A good mentor has a clear mind, and is able to clearly communicate information.
- Commitment A good mentor is fully committed to her mentees. She must have a sincere devotion to the job of nursing and the role of nurse mentor.
How Can A Nurse Mentor Help You?Whether you choose formal or informal mentoring, your mentor can help you in many ways. Here are the top 4 ways a nurse mentor can benefit you:
- Career Guidance Your mentor knows more about the field of nursing than you do. She can give you insights and advice to help you avoid mistakes. She will be able to help you steer your career in the direction you want. In addition to career advice, mentors can also be a good sources for networking, connecting you with other healthcare professionals and helping you find employment opportunities.
- Problem Solving If you have been struggling with specific nursing tasks, or are having difficulty balancing your work and personal life, your mentor can help you find a way through some of the challenges that you are facing.
- Emotional Support A good mentor will be there for you when you feel overwhelmed, confused, or out-of-sorts. Sometimes its nice to have a sympathetic ear.
- Helping to Build Confidence Positive affirmations can help you recognize your talents and help to validate you. She can show you your progress is right on track, despite whatever struggles you’ve faced.
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