The Benefits of Mentorship in Nursing

Nurses are the backbone of the medical field.

They are the ones that look after us, who provide great medical insight and make the worst moments of a lot of patients’ lives that much better. This can lead to a lot of pressure and stress for new nurses; new challenges can include unsupportive work environments, dissatisfaction with the job, stress, and the ever-worrisome burnout. However, there’s an easy way around such an anxiety-inducing situation: mentors and mentorship programs.

Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship where an experienced nurse supports the learning of a less experienced nurse and is a strategy often employed in many nurse education programs due to the effectiveness for both studies and students’ overall mental stability.

What are some benefits of mentoring?

The mentoring process has many different benefits, including (but not limited to):

  • Lessening stress and burnout of new nurses
  • Improving the quality of patient care
  • Enhancing productivity, managerial skills, and a sense of professionalism
  • Encouraging critical thinking and career development
  • Creating an experienced safety net
  • Increasing risk-taking, self-esteem, and job enrichment

One of the greatest benefits of having a nurse mentor is that it is also a key recruitment tool and way for hospitals to retain good nurses. Those who are mentored are more likely to stay at the hospital they mentor in than head somewhere unfamiliar—why go to a new hospital and learn the ropes of it when you’ve had someone to show you the hospital you mentor at, that you’re comfortable with?

What does the mentorship process look like?

Nurse mentorships can come in many different styles, both professional and more casual in nature. Many good collegiate nursing programs use the mentorship program to help those that are learning transition from being a student to being a nurse that much easier. It should also be noted that the mentorship program isn’t just for new nurses; any nurse who is interested in the process can ask a more experienced nurse to be a mentor.

The common thread between all mentorship types is the open line of communication: whether it is formal and involves written reports or is a more casual weekly check-in, the mentor is always there to provide the mentee a sounding board to ask clinical questions, ones about the hospital/nursing unit, and questions regarding best practices.

Even informal questions can be a great way for a mentor and mentee to grow their relationship to one that can exist past that of the mentorship program.

What can I do as a mentee to make the process better?

Building your education experience through mentorship can help you feel prepared and less stressed. As a mentee, you can also improve the process by being proactive, by asking questions of your mentor, keeping the line of communication open and inviting, and asking for feedback where appropriate.

The mentor is there to help encourage the mentee’s growth and comfort in their new job through camaraderie and sharing their experience, but they can also learn from their mentee through their asking of questions and seeing the job from a different perspective.

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