Consider The Benefits of Being a Mentor
Students and new nurses often seek a mentor to volunteer to share their years of wisdom by providing guidance and education. Rather than wondering how you can spare the time to be a mentor, perhaps consider how you might benefit from the experience.
Acting as a mentor to share your expertise in guiding and educating students, new nurses and those advancing in their nursing career can be rewarding-and time-consuming. Most nurses can benefit from the guidance and expertise of a mentor at any time during their career, but volunteering to be a mentor usually requires sacrificing time and energy out of your busy day. Rather than wondering how you can spare the time, perhaps consider why you should be a mentor, and how both you and your organization might benefit from the experience.
The mentoring experience can be mutually beneficial. Your mentee might hope to increase their insight, gain a closer look at an advanced role, or have an opportunity to test those textbook skills on the floor, or in the conference room.
As a mentor, you can benefit from the relationship as well. Fresh eyes can re-energize your routine days and help you see all that you've accomplished. If you ask open-ended questions and take the time to listen, you might receive honest feedback. Your coworkers might not be completely honest because they might be uncomfortable challenging your methods.
For Your Organization
You might not worry as much about getting behind on your work if you consider the benefits mentoring can bring to your organization. Mentoring can reflect positively internally for your organization by encouraging a positive culture that accepts new ideas, supports ongoing learning and a willingness to embrace change.
You might gain insights regarding your organization if you ask your mentee:
- What is their impression of your organization? This can help determine how the community perceives your organization.
- How does your organization compare to others in your area? This can help you determine if you're projecting the right image to attract and retain the best talent.
There never seems to be enough time to get everything done when you're a nurse. This might make you reluctant to volunteer to be a mentor, or view mentoring as an obligation, but not if you consider the benefits.
- Strengths from each generation- A fresh perspective on the newest and latest trends can provide you with an ability to better comprehend the strengths of different generations. This might help you better manage different people as the workplace grows more diverse.
You may be doing some things because that's the way you've always done them. It may have been so long that you may be unable to determine if they are no longer necessary, outdated, or if you should consider a better way.
- Take a critical look- As you challenge your mentee to think in new and different ways, perhaps you can as well. Consider areas for improvement for your role, by asking questions like, What can we stop doing? And Should we continue doing it this way?
Some of your tasks may have become almost routine or mind-numbing, but the process of educating your mentor can help you re-energize your motivation.
- Just how effective are your communication skills- As you educate your mentee, question what is ineffective, confusing, or misleading?
Helping The Next Generation of Leaders
We know that working in nursing isn't the same as what's written in the textbook, and most nursing jobs have tasks that are challenging to fit in the job description. Proficiency in these areas is achieved through trial and error and lessons learned over the years. As a nurse leader, part of your job is to develop people. Teaching another nurse how to avoid pitfalls in their career can be satisfying.
You have a lot of pride in your organization. By giving back to the next generation of nurse leaders, you can make a difference in developing and retaining talent from within to contribute to your organization's ongoing success. Think of it as an investment. Succession planning can provide for a good cultural fit and ensure that the next leaders understand the history of the organization and adhere to its mission.
Providing support, and developing networks within the organization can make the workplace more inviting. This may lead to better teamwork, a reduction in competitive nature and more emphasis on overall goals.
Give Them Wings
The wisdom gained from experience cannot be easily delineated. Most of us have heard the expression about nurses eating their young. Perhaps it's time we changed that and gave them wings by investing time being a mentoring. No matter where you're at in your nursing career, there are benefits to being, or having, a mentor. It can provide you with an opportunity to view the perception others may have of you, and remember when you were a new nurse in their shoes.
Maureen Bonatch MSN, RN is a fiction author and a freelance healthcare writer specializing in leadership, careers, and mental health and wellness. She is the owner of CharmedType.com and MaureenBonatch.com
Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 35; Likes: 103
from PA , US
Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience in Leadership|Psychiatric Nursing|EducationFeb 15I've acted as a mentor for graduate nursing students and I've also experienced the benefits of having a nurse mentor. I found both experiences invaluable and I'm still in contact with a few of my nurse mentors from years ago.