need input from Mentors!!!

Nurses General Nursing


Hi Guys, currently I am working to establish a mentoring program that isn't just lip service. I have read a lot of people saying they want a great preceptor/mentor and that makes all the difference- but no one has specifically said what makes a preceptor great or no so great.

In addition, all of our new nurses are sold on the idea of a mentor- but I am haivng trouble selling the idea of mentoring to the older, experienced staff- for all your experienced nurses out ther- what would motivate you to commit to one new nurse 100% for say a year? Extra money? extra vacation days? a trip to the Bahamas? Dream a little, and post back what would be an ideal mentor and what would motivate you to be a mentor with commitment to another nurses success. Thanks for each and every thought.


I am a newly licensed RN. I am an American living/will be working in Canada. I haven't met many people yet. I am very interested in having some online nursing mentor/contacts, someone to help me find my way or even just someone to talk with from time to time. I cannot offer vacations to the Bahamas, so think about it before you

I am not a mentor, but I think the biggest issue for experienced nurses is time. If you lighten their patient load a little they would have time to give to a new nurse on the floor. I think a lower nurse tongue.gifatient ratio would be better than the Bahamas.

A little recognition might be good too. So many nurses are down on themselves and an appreciation lunch or some small thing like that does up morale a little. My preceptor actually cried when I gave her a card expressing my gratitude.

Lets try this again.

I agree that the most important thing to mentoring anyone is time. Many times I see the team (mentor and new nurse) get a larger patient load because they are two people as opposed to one, however this is just not reasonable.

You need to give the mentor time to teach, explain things and to check on the new persons progress. The new person needs time to ask questions, somtimes you get so busy that you can't think of quesions because there are so many tasks to do.

It would also be helpful if you asked the new nurse to assess their own learning style and match them with a mentor that has or is willing to use that teaching style. Another helpful tool would be to ask the new nurse to write down some strengths, weaknesses and goals for the mentor. I know that people don't like to do this type of thing, but this would cut out alot of waisted time. Lets say the new nurse has put in a ton of IV's and does not feel they need to do many of them, but they have never put in a NG tube, if this information is shared with the mentor, then she/he knows what to focus on.

I feel that the new nurse should be asked to evaluate the mentorship at the end, so the mentor would have to be open to constructive critisism, and able to use it to his/her advantage. Therefore the mentor would need to be very secure.

It is also beneficial to offer monitary incentives, because the mentor is expected to perform above and beyond what is normally expected of them.

Specializes in Med/Surg, ICU, Cardiac ICU.

We are hoping that a differential works well here. On my particular floor, we haven't had too much trouble encouraging people to be preceptors because they know they get a hand in molding the new staff we need. But it does help a bit getting volunteers when we offered the differential. We are also giving the preceptor a bonus if the preceptee stays for at least a year. When the preceptee gets their sign-on bonus at their one year eval, their preceptor gets a "mentor" bonus. It acts as a reward for the extra work involved in precepting.

Sometimes we nurses are our own worst enemy. I empathies with you. It is difficult for us to remember when we were in need of mentoring......but all of us were. Try to "buddy" your seasoned nurses with those in need of mentoring using a team approach. I think it becomes overwhelming to think of being the sole person responsible for preceptoring (is that a real word?) a new graduate or a nurse entering a new specialty. Many times you will find a nurse who enjoys a particular part of their job or is outstanding in a particular area. Giving them the opportunity to shine as well as giving credit where credit is due may be your solution. i.e. Sally is great at admitting patients, Sue is super when it comes to patient teaching , Joe has superb documentation.....get my drift? It is worth a try. Let me know what you think.



Clarice, I think that's a brilliant idea to offer a bonus if the new kid sticks around at least a year. Actual financial incentive (if such is actually needed, and judging by some of the other posts on this board, IT IS)

not to "eat your young."

GREAT IDEAS guys- please keep them coming, this is an enormous project for me and I want lots of varied input. One thing to think about- My mentor was not my preceptor at all- do you think we could appropriately pair people to mentor- discuss the unit, the unit politics (as lots of us have had shock when we discover that arena), experiences etc without having them necessarily be the preceptor- would anyone of you experienced RN's try this out? Or does it seem too time consuming. Thanks again, I love the input.

Hollykate: I think it's very important that mentors be volunteers. Some nurses just don't like teaching all that much. As someone else suggested, remember that it takes longer to teach a procedure than to do it yourself, so keep the patient load on the low side. However, you would want to gradually increase acuity. The mentors need to be able to stand back and let the fledgling do the work; that's also is not so easy for some - their fingers start twitching when that NG isn't going down just right. A differential would be nice, but from my own point of view, I would do it for the fun of it.

I have been lucky in that I have always had (with very rare exceptions) wonderful, nurturing preceptors and mentors. One thing that I always found helpful was to make a list of my goals and learning needs, then sit down and review it with my mentor early on. It helped me clarify my needs in my own mind, plus then my mentor would be on the lookout for the learning experiences I needed. It's also a good idea to make appts. every so often to re-review the list and see where you are. One of my mentors was extremely good at helping me set realistic long- and short-term goals and then providing whatever support I needed to help me meet those goals. It was helpful and encouraging because my progress was empirical and measurable. I agree that an eye to choosing assignments that actually allow the mentor time to teach is helpful.

As far as compensation is concerned, a fair one would be an hourly differential, similar to what you would get paid for being charge nurse or having a specialty certification.

Our hospital recently began holding mentor workshops to teach adult learning principals, communication techniques, time management, etc. The ideal mentor is someone who loves thier job and wants to pass that love to others. They should be open to other learning styles and love to teach. Clinical skills should be excellent with carefull attention to detail.A good mentor continues on long after the orientation process is over.

Sounds like there's a blurring of two roles here: preceptor and mentor. I have been a preceptor for new hires in the ICU-CCU & been paid about $1 more an hour differential but I have only been an online mentor to student nurses. I think the second role gets cheapened when you think about getting paid cash; personally I get a greater sense of satisfaction as a mentor even though it takes up my "free" time. Also I notice that from the receiving end, preceptees are not as appreciative as mentorees - maybe because they know I'm getting paid to precept them?


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