Starting out a career as a nursing professional can be pretty daunting. From learning the ropes at your new job to meeting your new coworkers to just finding out where everything is, your first nursing job is going to be stressful, challenging, and rewarding all at the same time. One of the best ways to ease your transition into professional nursing is to find a mentor.
Finding a nurse mentor can be one of the most important things you do early in your career. Your mentor will not be the preceptor who is training you, they will be someone else who can provide advice and support when you need it most. A good nurse mentor will be someone who is there to listen when you have questions about anything from “office politics” to policies and procedures. Mostly, a nurse mentor will be there to encourage you on your toughest days. And any experienced nurse will tell you that there will be a lot of “toughest days” when you are a new nurse.
So, what does it take to find this magic Genie in a bottle called a nurse mentor? Let’s take a look at a few things that will aid your search.
- Keep your eyes and ears open. Anytime, a group of nurses are all gathered around, such as during clinicals, watch how they interact. Listen to how they present themselves and see if there is someone who you can relate to on a professional level.
- Watch other nurses while they are doing their job. Take the time to see how other nurses do their job. Is there someone who takes great care of their patients and really knows their “stuff”?
- Ask around. Wanting a mentor is not something to be embarrassed about and will be viewed favorably by those in leadership positions. One way to quickly find out who might be a good candidate to be a mentor is by asking key members of management to find out who they think is not only a great nurse but who might be a good mentoring candidate.
- Check to see if there is a nurse mentoring program. Many facilities recognize the benefits and may already have established a nurse mentoring program. If so, you are in luck because there will already be a structure in place and nurses who are interested in being mentors will have already been recruited to the program.
- Utilize social networks. Professional online resources, such as LinkedIn, have many groups for nurses. While it is usually more beneficial to establish a face to face relationship with your mentor, you may connect with a nursing professional from your specific field online and develop a solid mentoring relationship.
Ultimately, there is no one best way to find a nurse mentor. And, because it is such an important part of your early nursing career, finding the right mentor is critical. A mentor is not someone you want to settle for just because they agreed to do it. It is more important to find the right nurse to be your mentor. The nurse who is good at what they do, always displays compassion and professionalism, who doesn’t get involved in the rumor and gossip mill, and is a good listener, are some of the important traits that your mentor should have. Finding that person may not be easy, but in the end, the search will be worth the effort.
Do you have a nurse mentor? How did you find your mentor? Or, are you a nurse mentor for others? We want to hear from you! Share your mentoring stories in the comment section below, or join the conversation on our Facebook page.