The Benefits of Being a Nurse Mentor
Did you know that in some areas up to 60% of new nurses leave their first position and some the nursing profession entirely within two years? With concerns about nursing shortages already in the news, these statistics are doubly alarming for hospital administrators all over the country. Newer nurses cite an already stressful work environment combined with a lack of support from fellow nurses making it very difficult to successfully transition from nursing school into the professional ranks of nursing. So, how can healthcare industry professionals stem the negative tide of new nurses leaving the field or higher than acceptable turnover rates? Many organizations are turning to nurse mentoring programs.
What many nurses that shy away from taking on a role as a nurse mentor may not know is that mentoring isn’t all one-sided. Mentors have much to gain personally and professionally by helping younger nurses adjust to their new role. Let’s examine a few benefits of being a nurse mentor.
- Nurse mentors can learn as much as they teach. While nurse mentors are helping fledgling staffers understand and practice the standards of nursing, they are also reviewing the processes and procedures and are in a position to facilitate changes or make improvements where needed. Also, newer nurses will have been exposed to the newest technologies and hot-button issues and can present a different perspective to the experienced nurse who might not be as exposed to these current developments.
- Giving back is good for the soul. Mentoring is a way to give back to the profession that has meant so much to you in the first place. You became a nurse because you are driven to provide compassion and care for others, including younger nurses. Mentors can be the key that keeps a talented young nurse practicing her profession instead of walking out the door on a career.
- Become a leader. We have all been in a position at one time or another where we thought we could be a better leader or manager than the person who was in charge. A great way to finally dip your feet into the water of management is by being a mentor. When mentoring others, you are actively working on your coaching, communication, and leadership skills. Working with different individuals from various backgrounds helps you to develop the relatable skills necessary to handle many personality types. First being a mentor is a great way to find out what you want your future career to evolve into.
- Create a legacy. When you are really good at what you do, sharing your talent with others is a way to ensure that you are contributing to the future of nursing. Your legacy is something that will be around long after you have retired to your garden or the golf course. Imagine the impact you can have on the fortunate nursing professionals you have taken under your wing. By leaving your imprint on their skills, professionalism, and approach to patient care, you are having a lasting impact on them and the organization for years to come.
- Do it for the patient and fellow nurses. Like everything you do as a nurse, you have the patient’s best interest in mind. As a mentor, you are not only helping to ensure that the next generation of nurses has the skills to provide the best patient care, you are playing a role in keeping the best nurses around. Strong mentors who support and teach young nurses are doing their part to decrease turnover throughout the organization. Keeping young nurses engaged and excited about the profession they have chosen alleviates some of the pressures that short staffed units are facing and helps experienced nurses avoid burnout.
Becoming a mentor is not a decision to be made lightly. While the personal and professional benefits far outweigh the challenges, mentoring has to be something you are emotionally and professionally ready to handle. You will be seen as the “go-to” person for your area and will be expected to have the answers or at least know where to find them when questions arise. However, as a mentor, you will also feel the pride and satisfaction of knowing that your guidance has helped your mentees spread their nursing wings and learned to fly on their own.
Have you ever been a mentor? We would love to hear your stories about what it has meant to you and your career. Please share your experiences in the comment section below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.