How To Mentor Nurses: True Nurse Mentors Are Always Willing To Learn
Nursing is a unique occupation that invariably requires the mentoring of new nurses, by more experienced nurses. The question of how to mentor new nurses is an important issue that every registered nurse is confronted with, at one time or another.
One of the most important aspects of nurse mentoring involves the nurse mentor always being willing to learn new things. Mentoring in nursing covers many different aspects of nursing.
1. Awareness of the academic requirements for nursing:
Having already become nurses, nurse mentors are aware of the basic requirements for nursing. This often involves a high level of achievement, in numerous areas of inquiry. Those who are allowed to enter training as registered nurses, often come from varied academic backgrounds. Sometimes, the new nurses are selected because of their previous education or experience.
This kind of diversity should not present a problem for nurses who are called to mentor new nurses. Nurse mentors must be able to relate to all of those who they are mentoring. The majority of experienced nurses can do this, because they have had previous experience in mentoring, ministering to others or teaching.
The majority of nurse mentors know the value of a broad education base. Nurse mentors realize that no person entering into nursing, ever has too much previous education or past experience. Effective nurse mentors draw from the academic experience and background of the new nurses, to enhance the nursing education and experience of others.
New nurses are often astounded to learn about the academic backgrounds of more experienced nurses, particularly those who have worked for many years in nursing. Nurse mentors may have taken courses that are related to nursing, but not always. Most nurse mentors tend to pursue numerous areas of interest, throughout their lives and nursing careers. They are able to use their own education, training and experience to mentor other nurses effectively. Many mentors are competent in non-nursing related fields of endeavor, as well as in nursing.
Why is this so important? New nurses being mentored need to learn how to cope with many different people and different situations. All new nurses soon begin to realize that they will have to engage in ongoing education, for the rest of their lives.
Teaching new nurses how to study and participate in ongoing research, is extremely important. Each new nurse will be confronted by patients from many different walks of life. Nurse mentors will insist on a broad academic base for nurses, realizing that no educational pursuit is ever undertaken in vain.
2. Basic nursing skills:
Nurse mentoring involves teaching basic, or more advanced nursing skills, to new nurses. Some of what they teach may be related to that which the new nurses already know, but much of it can be new or different. Often, it is not easy for new nurses to learn skills and ongoing opportunities for practice are always needed.
Occasionally new nurses are fearful of attempting anything new, even though they realize that certain nursing skills are essential. For example, they may be too frightened to administer medications to patients, give injections or change dressings. The nurse mentor will assist them to resolve those kinds of concerns.
Knowing the theory behind various nursing skills, treatments and procedures, is essential. The nurse mentor must be familiar with theory and skills, before attempting to teach them to others. This entails continual research on the part of the nurse mentor. Once the theory and skills are mastered, teaching them becomes feasible.
Sometimes nursing mentors function in supervisory roles.
Often, there is a shortage of time for nurse mentors to do extra research. For example, intravenous equipment has never been introduced to nurses in a remote area. The mentor draws upon his or her current knowledge and previous experience with intravenous equipment, in order to teach the new nurses how to use this new equipment correctly. Patient safety is always of the utmost concern in any mentoring environment.
3. Continual changes in nursing:
Nurse mentors often introduce changes as new medical books, models and methods of treatment are continually appearing on the vast horizon of nursing. While this is a good thing, coping with continual changes in nursing is not always easy for new nurses. Changes make nursing increasingly challenging for the nurse mentor and the new nurse.
But ongoing change in nursing is a reality that has to be expected. At no point in time, does nursing ever become static. Nurse mentors must be able to function effectively, even when it involves continual change. Nurse mentors who teach new nurses to accept transition, how to deal with change and welcome the changes in nursing, will succeed as mentors. New nurses who are willing and able to change with the trends in nursing will succeed.
4. Nurturing new nurses:
Nurse mentors, who nurture new nurses effectively, help them to become nurse mentors too, as they learn how to nurture more new nurses. At times, a nurse mentor may have acquired nurturing skills that are appropriate, but often mentoring involves coping with different kinds of personalities, while the new nurses are being nurtured. This can present a challenge.
Many of the new nurses are young adults, but not always. Some of them may be older. They may be from a multiplicity of backgrounds, or cultures. What is considered to be appropriate nurturing for one new nurse, may not necessarily be considered appropriate for another.
Nurturing entails leading, guiding and teaching new nurses with an attitude of respect, empathy, concern and love. Most new nurses thrive under that kind of nurturing. In turn, they will treat those who they mentor, the same way. Many new nurses who become mentors, are already nurturing their own families, as well as their patients. Being able to nurture others effectively is a gift.
5. Assessment and evaluation of new nurses:
Nurse mentors continually assess and evaluate new nurses. Mentoring new nurses involves teaching the theory behind their nursing skills and practice. This requires preparing, administering and marking tests or examinations.
This aspect of mentoring can be frightening for new nurse mentors, who may never have taught adult learners. For some nurse mentors, this comes naturally, but for others it is more difficult.
No one can really teach any nurse how to mentor new nurses perfectly, but most nurses have already acquired the nursing skills and the knowledge they need to become effective nurse mentors. Many nurses have the inherent ability to mentor new nurses. A lot of nurse mentors thrive, because of their personal dedication to nursing and their love of others. Mentoring is never an easy task, but it can be a highly rewarding one.
One of the most important aspects of nurse mentoring is the nurse mentor’s openness and willingness to pursue professional education. Other aspects include maintaining a high quality of nursing care and medical ethics.
Nurse mentors invariably set excellent personal examples for new nurses. In turn, the new nurses pass along their education and experience and serve as good examples to others.
Nurse mentors often inspire other nurse mentors.
One might ask if nurse mentors will always be needed in the future. In conclusion, one must suggest that nurse mentors will always be needed to mentor new nurses, as long as they are always willing to learn, and patients still require nursing care.