Being an Effective Nurse Mentor

Nurses make a difference in the life of their patients every day. But as a nurse, you can also have a big impact on other nurses. Being a mentor is an opportunity to help guide and support a new nurse. Whether you work as a traveler or a have a permanent position, being a mentor can be a fulfilling part of your job. Mentoring a new grad allows you the opportunity to help a rookie nurse increase their skills and build their confidence.

Keep in mind; new nurses often acclimate to their role and the unit with guidance from other staff including their preceptor. But you’re more than a mentor. As a preceptor, you’re a useful resource to help your new teammate take on the challenges that wait. 

Qualities of a Nurse Mentor

Think back to your first day as a nurse. It can be both exciting and scary to be responsible for your patients. In some cases, it can take a little while to feel comfortable on the job and sure of yourself. A good mentor can help. Consider a few of the qualities of an effective mentor:

  • Good Communication Skills: Communicating effectively tops the list for nurse mentors. Remember to give clear and concise direction.
  • Sense of Humor: Working as a nurse is stressful. Being new on the job is even more nerve-wracking. When appropriate, use a little humor to decrease tension.
  • Accessibility: Although you don’t have to be available 24/7 to the nurses you’re mentoring, accessibility is important. Make sure the nurse you’re mentoring knows they can ask you questions and feels comfortable coming to you.
  • Self-Reflection: Regardless of how long you have been a nurse, there is always something to learn. A good mentor takes a step back to look at the job they are doing and asks themselves if there is something they can improve upon.

Effective Mentoring Tips

Mentoring is not something you’re taught in school. But it does take a certain skill to be an effective mentor. Consider some of the following suggestions:

Share your experiences: There is more to nursing than what is learned in the textbooks. Some aspects of nursing don’t involve medication calculation or interpretation of test results. Sharing your personal experiences can help a new nurse understand various aspects of the job that are not necessarily taught in the classroom.

Offer both praise and constructive feedback: If possible, take a few minutes at the end of your shifts to offer any feedback. A new nurse needs to know what she is doing correctly, and everyone appreciates a little praise. It’s also important to offer constructive criticism, so a new hire understands what they need to improve on. Your feedback should include specific recommendations on steps to take to improve.

Set expectations: It’s helpful to set clear expectations and goals for new nurses. For example, if you need to complete a clinical competency checklist or orientation paperwork, make sure you communicate what is expected and the timeframe it needs to be done.

Along with considering mentoring, are you looking for a new opportunity in nursing? Check out our newest positions here!

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