If you follow this blog and my social media, by now you know that Nursing is a rewarding career. At the same time, it is full of down moments.
If I’m being cliché, Nursing is not a walk in the park.
It’s not a bed of roses.
As junior nurses we are always going to experience hardship from time to time. It is wise to find ways to cope with the tough days early on in your career. Stepping back and having a solid self care routine are both good ways of doing this. However, they are band-aid solutions.
One of the ways to build a solid foundation in your career and have more good days than bad days, is getting yourself a mentor. Here are some of the reasons why you need a mentor moving forward:
1. Increasing your Knowledge and Confidence
A lack of confidence is one of the major issues that rookie/novice nurses struggle with. When you are confident, you can approach patients and colleagues better allowing you to learn more and enjoy your work day.
Some individuals are lucky to have inborn confidence. For most of us, it comes with knowledge and experience. When you have a mentor, they will share their knowledge and experience with you directly.
Such lessons can enable you to identify and fill the gaps that you missed in school or in previous assignments. This will help you navigate your new workplace and transition better. You can also learn from your mentor’s mistakes and know what to do in different situations.
2. Coping with stress
In nursing, having stressful days is inevitable. Your mentor can help you reflect through the difficult days. Breaking down the day with someone is a good way of understanding your role in the situation and addressing the feeling you are experiencing.
By sharing their own experiences, you will be reminded that you are not alone. This can often go a long way and stop you from being hard on yourself. In this process, you may also bump on new coping strategies for long stressful work days.
3. Identifying Points for Improvement
At the start of your nursing career, identifying your weaknesses is invaluable. Nursing is about patience and teamwork, qualities that may be difficult to cultivate. When you have an effective mentor-mentee relationship, your mentor can identify your strengths and weaknesses and help you to improve on the latter.
At this time also, you will be faced with tough questions and decisions. How to build a professional profile. What jobs to apply for. Whether to change jobs. Whether to change departments. Whether to go back to school. Whether to consider working in a different country. Even worse, whether to quit nursing.
Your mentor can advise you directly or help you weigh different options, aiding in your decision making. Your mentor will be there to encourage you. He/she can be part of your support system when you take professional risks. All these provide a basis for self improvement.
4. Broadening your Professional Network
Most times, mentors have a wide professional network. When you have a mentor, their network becomes your network. They can link you up to different people or organizations when the need arises.
Now that you appreciate the importance of mentorship, your next thought is likely to be: Where to get yourself a mentor. Here are some places:
- Social media (especially LinkedIn)
- HR at your work place
- Hiring a consultant.
- Getting a referral
If your goal is to elevate your nursing career this year, consider getting yourself a mentor; someone who will help you navigate the profession both upwards and downwards.
P.S. Watch out for World Class Nurse Mentorship Programs, Coming Soon!