Nurses Mentoring Nurses


Posted to Nursing, Nursing News, Nursing School

September 17th, 2012
Jenna Fischer

Yuri Arcurs/ Fotolia

A pilot mentoring program based in Nevada is hoping to accomplish at least two things. First, help nurses figure out how to take their “book learning” from nursing school and put it into practice. The program also aims to help the experiences nurses who will serve as mentors to rekindle their own excitement about the profession.

The program is called the Nevada Nurses Association Mentoring project, and is sponsored by a grant from the American Nurses Association, according to this article on Nurses with at least three years’ experience and newly licensed nurses each complete profiles and then are matched according to compatibility. Then the mentor-and-mentee pairs communicate via email about any questions or concerns the mentees may have.

The time commitment is minimal — the article states that only 15 minutes a week for 8 weeks is required from the mentor nurses.

Nurses who have just graduated and are facing the real-life challenges of their first shifts often are left “without the parachute” of a classroom environment, said Denise Ogletree McGuinn, RN, APN, who is one of the mentors and the director of the program. “It’s a critical time,” she said. “They need someone who can take them by the hand and tell them what they’re feeling is normal.”

Networking can be difficult, especially in Nevada where vast open spaces separate large population centers. Nurses with questions about a particular specialty may have to travel a long way to mingle with someone in their field.

For experienced nurses it’s a chance to remember why they chose nursing in the first place and an opportunity to “rediscover our joy,” McGuinn said. For struggling nurses, she said having someone to turn to who is not a boss or co-worker can be “like a hot bowl of macaroni and cheese.”

By early September, 10 matches had been made and five mentors were awaiting mentees. McGuinn said they are hoping for at least 250 matches in the next month.

The hope of the program is not only to help nurses through the early years, but also to get them engaged in their profession and ready to help the people who come after them. “These are our leaders of tomorrow,” McGuinn said.