The Value of Mentors

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    This article discusses how engaging in a mentoring relationship can help a nurse to grow in his/her role and help to achieve professional and personal goals.

    The Value of Mentors

    I chose the nursing profession a little later in life at age 42, after working for several years in the business world. Of course, it was the best career choice I could have made. I have been fortunate to have had access to mentors throughout my 13 year nursing career, but not without some effort on my part.

    My path to nursing started as a scrub tech in the OR at my local community hospital. After I passed the NCLEX, I was immediately promoted to Circulating Nurse and began my training. My assigned mentor was not the kindest nurse, and I frequently perseverated on the nurses eat their young phrase. It was discouraging. But I learned to deal with it, though eventually, after five years, decided that the OR was not the right place for me. I stayed within the same hospital system but transitioned into the Home Care division. It was there that I met my first real mentor.

    Mary B. made herself available on and off hours to answer my questions and guide me through difficult situations, like how to change an out of date cartridge on an IV pump with a nickel. She was amazing.

    When she retired, I asked another very experienced nurse, Shelly S. if she would help me learn and grow as a nurse. She expressed honor and appreciation for the opportunity. Although I worked independently most of the time, Shelly was available to discuss a complex situation or to guide me through the use of unfamiliar equipment. I still keep in touch with her even though she is now semi-retired, and I have moved in a different direction in my career.

    Six years ago, I had the opportunity to join a large managed care organization in a leadership role. I had never considered working in managed care and didn't know much about how the insurance industry worked, so as soon as I got settled, I developed a relationship with a senior leader who became my mentor. In the last few years, my nursing career has taken off. I manage a large team of nurse care managers and have accountability for 330,000 lives from a care management perspective. I have earned a Master's Degree in Nursing Informatics and have been peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of Managed Care Nursing. All of these accomplishments were a direct result of the mentoring relationships that I sought throughout my career.

    I currently have two mentors that I speak with on a regular basis. One is a nurse attorney who understands the complexities of risk management and another nurse MBA who is an expert in utilization management. Having worked in clinical and case management roles, the concepts of UM are new to me. But I predict that by the end of 2018, I will have developed a deep understanding of UM in the managed care environment and perhaps will be ready for another new career opportunity.

    Mentors can elevate your nursing skills and performance and help you grow in your career, no matter what type of nursing you practice. The message is that it's up to you to find a mentor and develop a lasting relationship. The same holds true for the personal goals that you wish to achieve.

    In early 2017, I set a goal to finish a novel that I started writing the year before. I joined some online creative writing groups and then attended a writer's conference in August. I met a best-selling author in the hotel elevator and have kept in touch with her. She read the beginning of my novel and gave me some constructive criticism, which I applied. I am proud to say that my debut novel DETACHED by Wendy Weiss, was published in November and is available on Amazon! Naturally, the story is a medical thriller.

    Please post in the comments below if you are interested in having a mentor. I am willing to pay it forward and help newer nurses achieve their goals. Others can join in the discussion either as a mentor or a mentee. We have to support each other and ensure that our nursing practice continues to grow and evolve. We can do that right here on allnurses. Countless others can benefit from online discussions such as this.
    Last edit by Joe V on Jun 14, '18
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    About whalloran, MSN

    Wendy Weiss Halloran is an RN, MSN, CCM working in the managed care industry in sunny, Southwest Florida. She is peer-reviewed and published in the Journal of Managed Care Nursing, and is a fiction writer of medical thrillers and mysteries.

    Joined: Aug '04; Posts: 3; Likes: 7
    from US

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  3. by   WestCoastSunRN
    What an inspiring article! As you so beautifully illustrated, the best mentorships are the ones sought out by the mentee (is that a word?). This means the onus is on us, as individual nurses, to find our mentors and be willing to approach them. That's a small price to pay for a relationship that will nurture you in the way that mentorship does. And it's a great way to give back as well.... be willing to be someone else's mentor.
  4. by   David2017
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us on this platform while highlighting the value of mentorship. As you stated, mentorship makes a huge difference in one's development especially during role transition. As a brand new nurse practitioner, I can testify about this. In fact, I have found myself reaching out to other NPs with the hope of getting some insight and learning from them. Your experience is special as you were able to combine your previous business background with your nursing background to get you where you are right now while cultivating your love of writing.
  5. by   Augustine chijioke
    Your write up actually caught my attention.
    I am interested in having you as my mentor
    because i have great interest in managed
    care. I av B Sc in Nursing and my email
    is, I wish to hear from you. thank you
  6. by   JKL33
    I've often encouraged newer nurses to know which coworkers on the unit are able to give solid, helpful advice, but I hadn't thought so much about the way you present the idea of a dedicated mentor. It's an idea that is very good for everyone (the one seeking and the one responding) in so many different areas of nursing, whether one is a novice or expert. I really like this.
  7. by   Nurse Mentor Nancy
    I do not think the onus has to always be on the mentee. As experienced nurses, I think we have to reach out to encourage and help new nurses. For over 20 years I have mentored and coached nurses in my fulltime positions as nurse practitioner and nurse mentor, in my speeches and continuing education classes and through my articles online.
  8. by   Laurenrn1124
    I would love a mentor. I am a second degree nurse as well! My email is Thank you for this opportunity.