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?