Finding a nurse mentor

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One of the best pieces of advice I received when I graduated from nursing school was to find a mentor.  One of my instructors told me to find a nurse that has been around for a while and can help you get through that tough first year and then help you get along when times are tough.

I did find a mentor when I was in my final semester of school.  He was my preceptor for one of clinical rotations.  He had only been a nurse for a few years, so he understood what I needed from him in the beginning of my career and he also knew the pitfalls I would find myself in as my career progressed.  When I was thinking about changing jobs or specialties, I knew I could go to him and get his honest opinion and that I could trust that he would not steer me wrong.

Once I got into management, I needed to find someone that could help me in this transition.  Although he was the one that helped me make the decision to jump from the floor into the office, he didn’t have the experience there that could help me.

I finally found a nurse that had been in management for about 10 years.  Her career was about the same as mine; she went into nursing with a previous career in business and knew that she wanted to get into management as quickly as possible.  She is now the one that is there for me when I need a little pat on the back when I think I am going the wrong direction with my management…and she is there to knock me down when I’m thinking I’m great when I ‘m actually screwing up pretty bad.

I truly appreciate both of my mentors for different reasons, but the most important thing they have done for me is just help me stay positive and remember why I wanted to be a nurse in the first place.

Do you have a great nurse mentor?

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Rob Cameron

Rob Cameron is currently a staff nurse in a level II trauma center. He has primarily been an ED nurse for most of his career, but he has also been a nurse manager for Surgical Trauma and Telemetry unit. He has worked in Med/Surg, Critical Care, Hospice, Rehab, an extremely busy cardiology clinic and pretty much anywhere he's been needed.Prior to his career in nursing, Rob worked in healthcare finance and management. Rob feels this experience has given him a perspective on nursing that many never see. He loves nursing because of all the options he has within the field. He is currently a grad student working on an MSN in nursing leadership, and teaches clinicals at a local university.Away from work, Rob spends all of his time with his wife and daughter. He enjoys cycling and Crossfit. He is a die hard NASCAR fan. Sundays you can find Rob watching the race with his daughter.

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11 Responses to Finding a nurse mentor

  1. Great article. Full time I am a nurse manager in long term care. Part time I am an educator and speaker (see my webpage) As I get close to retirement from my fulltime job I am interested in developing an online nursing business. One of my ideas is to be a mentor to nurses online. What do you think about this idea? Thanks

  2. turkess

    this would be a great idea Nancy , I would be one of the first nurses to sign up

  3. Dawn Tucker

    I have found myself in need of a nurse mentor for my “Professional Socialization” class. I would find someone who I live near or work with, but I am in the position of leaving my current job to move from Michigan to Florida and of course this transition takes place right in the middle of everything for this class. So you can see my dilemma. What I need is someone who can be a mentor for me, but in the form of a strictly on-line e-mailing relationship for this class. That’s the only way I can take my mentor with me when I move. Any volunteers?? I am looking for a nurse with years of experience – well seasoned.

  4. Cassie

    This what I have been looking for. I am not new to the profession, but I have started my role as a RN Case Manager into Hospice. I worked 25 years before in Africa, passed the NCLEX-RN in September 2009. I am aware that I need to learm more from the social and professional skills to fully feel independent. Direct contact type of mentorship would be great, but I’d welcome e-mail mentorship if offered.

  5. LandDRNBSN

    I think that my biggest problem as I climb the ladder (or try), I have never had the luck of a good preceptor or mentor. It was bad when I graduated from nursing school because I was the only one of the floor with a BSN, so they avoided me. When I graduated from grad school same thing…..So many people claim to be great mentors or preceptors, but they lack the knowledge and skills to do so. To those who have had wonderful preceptors or mentors, kudo’s to you! For those like myself, I feel your pain. I have been dragged into more positions with the promise of mentor-ship only to be left in the lurch! So much so, that I have taken it upon myself to do research, hopefully get it published, on the make up of preceptors and mentors and just maybe put together a program that will help other nurses who have experienced the same things. To those who never experienced this, you’ve done well,congratulations, I am very jealous!

    • LandDRNBSN

      By the way, to those who promised to precept me or mentor me, and you read this, you will know exactly whom I am talking about. Please learn from this.

  6. Enfermera3 Student

    I am going to graduate from my ADN in December and I feel as though I have two nursing professors who I really consider mentors. What is the unspoken rule of thumb for connecting with these instructors post-graduation? I want to stay in touch with them b/c not only do they give me such great advice but they are just wonderful people to be around. Should I tell them I look to them as mentors, etc?

  7. hyunnie501

    I am really touched in this article. Actually I am a nurse for 2 years and now I am assigned as a community nurse trainee. I considered the nurse assigned in this community as my mentor. He really helped me a lot especially when I am confused. He gives me advices and encourage me in some ways.

    • Scrubs Staff Scrubs Blogger

      Wow–we’re so glad you’ve had a positive mentor experience, hyunnie501! Thanks so much for sharing it.