Why Mentorship in Nursing Is Important and How It Can Encourage Future Nurse Leaders

In this article, we discuss how mentorships are an impactful tool to encourage progress for nurses.

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A mentorship is kind of a vague concept to people who have never been involved in one. Is it a formal appointment every week, or something that happens casually over coffee in the breakroom? Both arrangements are perfectly valid, and in the right set of circumstances, they can be highly productive.

You just have to get it right. Under the right set of circumstances, mentorships are a powerful vehicle toward progress, both for the individuals involved, and the healthcare provider itself.

The Importance of Mentorship

What’s the deal with this anyway? You were mentored in school right? You learned the stuff you needed to know. Logged those endless, and unpaid days on the hospital floor. Well, they were paid. By you, to the school.

But you did all that. You’ve done the hard work. You know how to do your job. Do you really need a mentor? Mentorship is important in healthcare because it covers a soft dimension of the work that can’t quite be learned in school. It’s a personal element to your professional development and education that can really help a lot in the long run.

Sure, you know what it takes to do the job because of your schooling, but do you know what it feels like? Four days in a row on the night shift. A patient you care about dies. You are stressed, fatigued. You don’t feel very good at home. You’re worried about the risks of inadvertent nursing discrimination— a phenomenon that can occur when healthcare providers have a difficult time relating to the people they are treating.

These are things intrinsically a part of working within the healthcare system. It’s a very hard road to take, and one you won’t want to travel alone. Mentorship gives you someone to lean on when times are tough. Someone who was once in the position you are in right now but has since learned and grown.

You don’t need one. Not in the strictest sense of the word, anyway. But you might want one. You might want someone who understands something your friends and family just can’t, because they haven’t lived it. Someone you can vent to, or ask questions that might feel personal and embarrassing.

Such are the benefits of having a mentor:

Building Leaders

But what about the leadership dimension of this question? The title of our article suggests that with the right mentor, a future healthcare leader can be made. Of course, the answer to this question will depend on the individuals involved.

Not everyone is made for leadership, no matter how good their mentor is. Still, some will inevitably move through the ranks and become an influential figure at their place of work.

For them, high-quality mentorship not only improves their odds of getting noticed, but it also helps them develop skills faster. Humans naturally pass on skills and knowledge through communication.

Book learning is great, but working nurses know that school really begins on the job. It’s there that you learn how to work through your routine and cover all of the many things that simply aren’t and can’t be taught in a classroom.

That’s what the mentor is there for. They are a leader in their own right, and so can teach a driven newly minted nurse how to lead.

Mentorship as a Promotion Funnel

There is also just the networking element of mentorship to consider. Beyond the gooey, emotional element described above, mentors are also well-positioned to monitor new nurses and make recommendations for the promotion track.

Often, promotions are less about who is the best fit for a job and more about who is best positioned to take it. You need to be well qualified, of course, but you also need to present your skill and competency to the right people. Beautiful though the wallflower might be, it’s not always noticed, and there are natural tendencies toward discrimination against promoting employees who don’t make a big impression.

When driven nurses connect with mentors, they grow, yes, but they are also monitored closely. The mentor is then able to monitor their progress, and recommend only the best people for the job.

To that end, the institution of mentorship is one that organically benefits everything it touches. The mentor is given the chance to pass along their wisdom. The mentee gets to learn from the best, and the healthcare provider itself benefits from a highly productive working dynamic that helps churn out only the best of the best.

Mentorship won’t be right for everyone, but when it works out, the benefits can be enormous.

If you want to learn more about mentorship programs and how they can benefit your organisation, book a free demonstration with PushFar today.

This article was guest written by Andrew Deen.

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