Feeling defeated and alone. Advice on finding a mentor

Nurses General Nursing


I recently went from DON and expert in my field to bedside in a completely new specialty.

I'm finding the transition difficult. I made this choice for family reasons and chose a specialty I do enjoy. However, I feel like my experience isn't helping. I feel like I'm worse off than a new grad because I've been out of school for so long and CMS & TJC rules I lived by changed with my new specialty.

I don't have friends in this new place. I really feel like I need someone to vent to and help me process my experiences so I can learn from them. I need help finding a mentor but I don't know how to go about it. Any advice?


472 Posts

Some workplaces run official mentoring programs, wherein newer nurses are paired up with nurses experienced in the field in order to touch base, talk over clinical matters, add a little supplemental learning, etc. The mentors (and usually the mentees) in these programs are paid. If your workplace doesn't offer this kind of program, you might be able to talk your manager or educator into starting one up, especially if your workplace has had any difficulty retaining new hires or avoiding serious errors.

Alternatively, starting a journal club or best practice group meeting could be useful. See what's offered or talk to your boss about starting one.

As for an unpaid mentor... You could ask around and hope. You could offer something in return, maybe making use of your previous experience. But realistically, your best bet is likely just to befriend another, more experienced nurse in your field. I've certainly had a couple less experienced nurses that I've talked shop with in my off time. But typically, those conversations were over beers or korean bbq, and wedged between conversations about politics, tech, significant others, etc. They were friends first and foremost.


5,095 Posts

Well, there are a million members here...

I switched many times over the years. Keep you eyes open.. you will find someone that you can feel you can trust with your concerns.


1 Article; 2,675 Posts

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

Find someone who knows the stuff, then do whatever to gain trust of this person. You may do it subtle way and without venting and (especially) whining and complaining. Do not show your weakness. Show them you're enjoying your new area and eager to learn.

Address things with the right people. Find who knows and likes to do what, then ask accordingly. If someone is responsible for something, ask this person particular question.

Forget that you were DON. Forget the stuff "you lived by". Think like you're in a new country and gonna to start it from zero. The last real adventure on the green planet is upon you ?

If you like the idea, find nurses doing the same type of work.There are like 2 millions of us right here, there got to be somebody going the same stuff for a while.

And, if you found a new job, you can just for the heck of it find a new hobby to combat stress. Live, eat, sleep, exercise, it's important. Do not "fix" your life on a new job. It is JUST A JOB, nothing more, and not worthy any degree of despair.

Specializes in Psychiatry, Community, Nurse Manager, hospice.

What was your former specialty and what is the new ome?

Specializes in NICU.

Lesson learned,-keep your business,fears,grief ,to yourself-get a good text book to keep up to date on what you feel you are missing.Finally get yourself a good social worker counselor a professional who will help YOU and offer productive suggestions,dont waste your time with co workers -they have their own problems maybe worse than yours.

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