Most nursing schools are adept at providing full-scale, lifetime training for students once they exit the program and enter the real world of nursing. But does the education really end when clinicals are over and a licensed RN or NP heads out into the world of care-giving? The obvious answer is ‘of course not’. There are continuing education programs and requirements, updates to medicine, and advancements in technology and disease research. While training is certainly an ongoing endeavor for nurses of any type, there is one type of educational tool that should be a priority for students and those recently graduating from a program: a mentor.
What is Mentorship?
Students in nursing schools are certainly in no short supply of professionals that can answer questions and provide guidance. However, a true mentor relationship goes beyond preceptor, head physician, and teacher-student relationships. The true definition of a mentor is someone who is available to coach or tutor a student toward excellence in their career. Ideally, your mentor is someone who shares your job duties and has traveled the same roads in their own career.
How Does a Mentor Benefit Nursing Students?
Nursing students are charges with much responsibility and expectations throughout the education process. From the inception of a nursing degree program, students are tasked with so much work that it can at times seem unbearable. A good mentor can help guide you through this trying time and provide the kind of perspective that will allow you to make good decisions about your time management, study programs, and even outside work in a related field.
Even though the initial phases of nursing school is one of the most challenging times for nursing students, the real obstacles begin after graduation. This is a time when a guide or coach will be especially helpful. A mentor-mentee relationship should be one of mutual effort, where both parties are invested in the success of the new professional seeking guidance.
How to Find a Mentor
If you are looking for a mentor to help during nursing school or following graduation and licensure, there are few places to turn. In fact, mentors are also professionals with their own career and interests. However, a great place to start is you local nursing association. Find a nursing association near you by visiting the American Nurses Association (ANA). In addition to outside resources, many employers and clinical facilities can guide students and new nurses in the process of discovering a mentor.
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