How Do I Find a Nurse Mentor?

If you are a recent nursing school graduate, you may be asking yourself “How do I find a nurse mentor?” Having a nurse mentor is important for nurses regardless of how long they have been in the profession, but it is especially important for those who have recently graduated. One of the biggest challenges will not be to find a mentor, but to find the right mentor. It might be more beneficial for some nurses to find their own nurse mentor even if they work in an organization that has a mentoring program.

What is a Nurse Mentor?

Nurse mentors are experienced nurses who provide guidance and moral support to less experienced nurses. They may provide that guidance and support before the nurse has graduated (see: How Should I Prepare for My First Interview for a Nursing Position?), or even after they have had years of experience. They provide advice to nurses on the situations they are likely to encounter and the best ways to deal with them. They may help the mentee improve their technical skills, be more efficient, and handle the stress of being a working parent.

Nursing can be overwhelming and exhausting for a new nurse. Mentors can guide them as they transition from school to work. A nurse in a new state who is unfamiliar with their organization may need extra help in order to fulfill their obligations; nurse mentors provide that help.

Benefits of a Nurse Mentor

With the shortage of nurses being a serious problem for many health care organizations, mentoring can be an effective way for them to retain nurses. High turnover among nursing staff can create problems for an institution as it has an impact on the nursing staff’s ability to deliver a consistently high level of care. The support of a nurse mentor helps mentees succeed and reduces turnover.

What to Look for in a Nurse Mentor

The first thing the nurse should consider is what they want from their mentor. It is a good idea to find one with good communication skills and with whom the mentee feels comfortable interacting. Other important qualities include experience; the mentor should be at least five years ahead of the mentee in nursing. It is a good idea to consider access to the mentor as well; how easy will it be for them to get together and talk? In order to facilitate the mentor/mentee relationship, they should consider looking for mentors within their organization or who are geographically close.

Ways to Find a Nurse Mentor

Many mentor/mentee relationships develop spontaneously between two nurses on the same rotation. Relationships may also be formed deliberately via a health care organization’s mentoring program. Opportunities for finding mentors also exist online. There are Internet communities that cater specifically to nurses. These communities provide avenues for interaction between experienced nurses and newcomers to the profession.

With its aging population, the United States is faced with the need to overhaul its health care system. As the single largest segment of health care workforce, nurses will play a major role in the evolution of health care. Mentoring is important for helping nurses to do their jobs better. Therefore, nurse mentors have the ability to transform both the nursing profession as well as health care as a whole. If you are a recent nursing school graduate, be a part of the transformation and use the tips listed above to find a suitable nurse mentor.