Healthcare is a crucial sector within society and important for keeping us in the best shape. It is also crucial in terms of caring for us when we fall ill or have an accident.
Although it is a sector with many vital roles, nursing is a healthcare niche that rightfully stands out. The direct care nurses provide to patients explains this and is one of the main drivers behind the positive patient outcomes seen in hospitals around the country.
Although many factors go into effective nursing, the high-level skills professionals in the sector possess are a major factor. While these are things that nurses learn when training for the role and then refine when working, mentorship also helps professionals in the sector perform to their best.
By getting the proper guidance from the right mentors, student nurses, and working nurses looking to continue their education can reach their full potential.
What is mentorship in nursing?
Before we take a closer look at how you could move into mentorship within this sector yourself and the benefits the right mentor can deliver, it is best to clarify what this term actually means.
In short, it enables those training to become a nurse to gain professional insights and expert guidance from those already qualified to work in the industry. This helps them learn the skills needed to become a qualified nurse from those who already possess them and have expert guidance to rely on as they train to move into the sector. Mentorship is also key for nurses who may already be qualified but are studying for a new, higher-level qualification in a new area.
Nursing mentorship is also important for providing pastoral support to student nurses as they train and gives them a trusted source of advice for any questions/queries they have about the job. Mentorship may also be something qualified nurses seek out in their workplace to develop their skills and prepare for more advanced roles.
Mentorship in the industry can be in the form of preceptorship, which sees students complete set tasks/objectives under the careful eye of a qualified nurse as an educational experience. It may also see mentorship from nursing faculty staff provided as part of a university or college course.
How do you become a nursing mentor?
Many trained nurses will think about becoming a mentor at some point and help bring the next generation of nurses into the sector. This can often be driven by their compassionate nature and vivid memories of how big an impact having an excellent mentor made on their own career while training.
But how do you get into mentorship in nursing if you fancy heading down this path yourself? When it comes to preceptorship, one of the best ways is to get in touch with universities that run healthcare courses. Texas Woman’s University is among the most highly respected and helps students get in touch with preceptorships as part of courses they run, such as the online MSN-FNP program.
The best way to become a mentor through a university is to submit your resume directly to a faculty member at the institution, along with contact information for where you are employed. They will contact you if they are looking for nursing mentors to work with their students currently, and most usually are.
Many medical centers and hospitals also have their own mentorship schemes open for internal staff to take advantage of. This helps them to support professional growth and raise the quality of care in their organization through mentorship. You may also find that some professional nursing organizations provide opportunities to guide newcomers to the industry.
Why should you consider becoming a nursing mentor?
The latest health news covers many subjects, and stories around nursing can be common. Mentorship in nursing is one area that sometimes crops up – but why do so many nurses choose to become mentors? Lots of nurses make this choice because it makes them feel good and seems the right thing to do. Being able to guide trainee nurses as they break into the sector or progress is very satisfying, especially when the advice you pass on helps them improve.
There really is no better feeling than seeing those you have mentored go on to gain new qualifications and have a successful career. The bonds you build with those you mentor can often be strong and last a lifetime. This also feels good and means you grow your professional network over time and pick up new friends along the way.
Many trained nursing professionals also become mentors because they like the idea of helping drive the industry on and passing on their knowledge for others to use. This ensures that nursing continues to stay in great shape overall and that the knowledge they share can continue to keep standards of care high.
Perhaps the last major reason qualified nursing staff enjoy being mentors is their caring nature. Helping people learn what they need to know about the sector as they break into it and pick up practical nursing skills fits in well with these characteristics.
What benefits does becoming a mentor in nursing offer?
While there are many good reasons nursing professionals become mentors, certain benefits also attract them to it. But what might they be?
If you are looking for the best ways to improve your resume, being able to list mentorship is a big plus for nurses and one of the top ways to go about it. This can help show potential employers that you are committed to helping others, are prepared to push yourself in new directions, and have leadership skills. These sorts of qualities are often in demand around nursing, and this can make your resume really stand out.
Time spent mentoring student nurses may also count towards the requirements for moving onto more senior nursing positions in some clinical settings. Becoming a mentor can help you meet prerequisites in terms of clinical time which a role you plan to apply for may have.
You may also find that certain schools, universities, and colleges give faculty mentors and preceptors access to their library of resources. This can be valuable for your learning and help you grow professionally.
Having the right mentor in nursing counts
As we move through life, it is often handy to have a trusted and authoritative source of advice to lean on. This can help us pick up the skills we need in certain areas properly and have someone to turn to when we get stuck or need new ideas on how to solve a problem.
Nursing is no different, and mentors are crucial for helping students in the sector complete their journey to becoming trained, competent caregivers. As we have already noted, nursing mentors are also a great source of non-clinical advice and general support in a pastoral sense. The key to gaining all these benefits for students is finding the right mentor – but how can you do this, and what benefits does it deliver?
How can you find the best nursing preceptors?
All educational programs focused on nursing will include nursing mentorship experiences for their students. For work in clinical settings, preceptors help trainees to apply what they have learned in the classroom in a practical setting.
When it comes to preceptors, many universities and colleges often work with students to find the right mentor for them to learn from. This sees placement coordinators at the institution liaise with students to find a suitable preceptor to gain mentorship.
In some cases, you may find that educational institutions assign preceptors directly and with no collaborative effort that involves students. It is best to check with any university or college where you plan to study in advance to see what their arrangements are.
How do you find the right nursing faculty mentors?
Faculty mentors for nursing students can be found through close communication with the faculty member you would like as a mentor. They are the first port of call for the trainee nurse in terms of the program experience and any issues with the curriculum. Faculty mentors are also usually the people you would turn to for emotional or pastoral support.
For nurses following a professional qualification outside of education, you can find suitable mentors through the mentorship program your clinic or hospital runs. These programs help you connect with senior nursing staff who can provide support as you develop new skills.
Tips for tracking down the right mentor
If you are looking for the best preceptor, faculty mentor, or professional mentor to learn from, there are a few key tips that can help. Even if you are studying in an academic course and your university will help you with the search, this advice is worth considering.
What should you be thinking about?
- Be proactive in identifying and contacting the mentor you choose
- Network for mentors via professional nursing organizations
- Don’t leave it too late to start looking for a mentor
- Have a clear idea of what you expect from your mentor
- Update your resume so it is ready to share with potential nursing mentors
Although all of the points above are worth bearing in mind when looking for a mentor, starting early is perhaps the most crucial to take on board. It can take time to find the right person to guide you and get in contact with them.
Not leaving it too late prevents you from missing out on your preferred mentorship choice because other people contacted them first. In addition, you avoid rushing your search and not finding the best mentor you might otherwise be able to find.
What qualities should the right nursing mentor have?
As noted above, it is not just about finding a mentor to help but also the right one. Key to this is looking at the qualities any good mentor should have and finding someone who possesses most of them. By doing this, you can be sure they will be someone who will provide excellent support and inspire you to grow professionally.
But what characteristics does this include? To begin with, they should be compassionate, caring, and patient. This will help them make you feel at ease when learning from them and ensure they do not get frustrated if you are struggling with a certain concept or practical skill. They should also challenge you professionally and help you reach your full potential.
Mentors must also have good communication skills, good people skills, and empathy. This will help them build a closer bond with the students they guide and ensure they are able to pass on information or explain things easily.
The right nursing mentor should also provide an honest picture of working in the sector/department and help shape your critical thinking skills. This will help fully prepare you for working as a qualified nurse or further expand your skillset if gaining mentorship as an already qualified professional.
What benefits does finding the right nursing mentor bring?
Having looked at what different mentors in nursing can help with, how to find them and what qualities the best mentors have, you may still wonder about the specific benefits finding the best mentor delivers. The truth is that there are numerous benefits, making it worthwhile to spend time to find one you gel with best.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that the right mentor will understand you and know how to get the best out of you. This will help you grow as you learn from them and reach your full potential as a qualified nursing professional. The right mentor will know when to challenge you and when to step back a little if needed. This is key to ensuring you always feel motivated and supported to do your very best.
Finding the best mentor also means you will have someone to guide you who is outstanding at what they do and has lots of expert knowledge to pass on. This is also a real bonus for trainee nurses or those looking for mentorship to grow within professional settings.
Finding the right person with the right experience can help you get the most from their guidance and pick up new skills to develop as a nurse. The right mentor will normally be experienced at guiding trainee nurses, and this ensures you get the best help from them.
What other benefits does having the right mentor in nursing bring?
Aside from helping you grow professionally and prepare fully to excel in the sector, nursing mentors can simply make the whole experience more fun. By finding someone they connect with, student nurses will enjoy a much richer journey with someone they enjoy being around. This is a lot better than having a mentor you do not gel with and having your experience of nursing practice soured.
In tandem with this, choosing a mentor who is right for you means you feel more comfortable talking to them about any problems you may face. This could be issues with your clinical placement, queries over an assignment, or personal issues you need to talk with someone about. The right mentor gives you a safe place to do this and allows you to speak about issues with someone who truly understands.
Finding a mentor, you connect with can also be valuable for your future career aspirations. This is true for trainee nurses undertaking their basic qualifications or professional nurses studying for higher level ones.
It is much more likely that you will stay in touch with a mentor you are close to and more likely that the right one will be committed to helping you advance within the sector. This can make them a valuable part of your professional network moving ahead and a good source of career advice.
Nursing mentorship: Finding the correct mentor is vital
Nursing is one of the most important professions within healthcare and a niche crucial to its ability to function. One aspect of the industry central to the development of professional nurses is mentorship. This is both for trainee nurses following educational programs and qualified nurses seeking to develop within their own workplace.
To get the most from this, finding the right mentor is a must and something worth focusing on. For those already working at higher levels in nursing and wishing to pass their knowledge on, choosing to become effective mentors is also something to consider. This helps you train the next generation of professionals coming into the sector and ensure the knowledge/experience you have picked up over time is not lost.