Throughout the years, the nursing profession has changed. Through evidence-based practice and nursing research, the profession has elevated. Nurses have the tremendous responsibility of human lives in their hands, and as such, the demand for clinical competence is essential. Academic education is a part of the journey. However, as nursing is a practical profession, there is also a need for assimilation between the theory learned and the practical profession. Mentorship provides help for this assimilation, and therefore it will help the student nurses to develop their clinical competence.
This paper will examine a semi-structured interview about mentorship with Ruth Bates, RN (personal communication, January 27, 2020). She is a home care nurse for 22 years and had experienced working in the emergency department and intensive care unit (ICU) for 15 years. Verbal consent was given to use information obtained in the interview for this paper. Bates (2020) shared her experience in mentoring nursing preceptor students. This experience includes the significance of mentorship in nursing practice, particularly on the development of student's knowledge and skills, translation of nurses' knowledge into practice, and the transition of novice nurses into the workplace. Throughout this paper, I will share my perceptions about my ideal mentorship, my expectations for a mentor and a mentee, advantages of mentorship to newly graduate nurses, challenges and limitations in mentorship, the strategies in strengthening the mentee-mentor relationship as well as the impact of mentorship on the personal and professional growth of both the mentor and mentee.
What is Mentorship?
Mentorship is primarily a practice that involves two individuals, both reciprocally learning from each other and with mutual objectives to learn from each other. The individuals involved are the mentor and the mentee. The mentor is the one that provides guidance, and they are the expert and the role model in the field, and the mentee is the less experienced partner who I being guided into achieving expertise (Jeffers & Mariani, 2017). In some cases, mentorship can be spontaneous such that the mentor and the mentee without any conscious effort pair each other working towards common goals. However, mentorship is more successful when the individuals are paired with clear objectives of the relationship outlined. The nursing practice benefits from types of mentorship, but the deliberate mentorship is more practical and measurable than the capricious engagement. Mentorship programs, on the other hand, have specific objectives and timelines (Jeffers & Mariani, 2017). Mentorship programs are deliberately organized with particular goals in mind. The mentors are chosen experts in the field and guide on specific subjects or areas of inadequacy in the nursing practice.
What is the Significance of Mentorship to Nursing?
Mentorship in nursing practice plays a critical role in ensuring that nurses are oriented into the nursing world with adequate skills and knowledge to apply to the tasks at hand. When nurses join the nursing practice, it is always a daunting task first to acclimatize to the institutions and, more importantly, apply their skills practically (Jeffers & Mariani, 2017). The healthcare setting can be overwhelming foremost of them as they try to figure out what they need to do. Through mentorship, the young nurses can have a foothold on the practice through guidance on what to do, how to do it, and the best practices in healthcare provision. Mentees can get a grasp of the advice more quickly when they listen to mentors, learn the trade within the shortest time possible and execute what they previously learned and the skills from the mentorship to offer the best. At the same time, the mentee, by learning from the mentor, balances their skills with those they get from the mentor, which results in a tremendous wealth of knowledge. In this way, the nursing practice assured of the highest quality delivery of service from the nurses.
Greenfield (2015) affirms that mentorship programs provide the subjects with leadership roles as well as helping the facilities improve retention and reduce the cost of turnover. Successful mentorship helps the facility to enhance retention due to the trust between the mentor and mentees. When new nurses receive proper mentorship, they are more likely to stay with the facility since they feel appreciated and have little work-related problems that would trigger the need to leave (Vatan, & Temel, 2016). At the same time, successful mentorship will lead to fewer mistakes when delivering healthcare, which in turn leads to fewer readmissions or problems associated with inadequate service delivery. Minimization of errors in the course of service delivery means the cost of service delivery is reduced. At the same time, minimization of mistakes leads to better patient outcomes, which are the primary goal for nursing practice. Better results and minimization of errors is dependent on successful mentorship programs, both capricious and deliberately planned. The nursing practice, therefore, will benefit immensely from the mentorship programs.
Roles and Responsibilities of Mentor and Mentee
The first role of the mentor is to ensure that the mentee learns the environment in which they operate the culture of the unit as well as the political environment. Mentors, most the time, are people working within the institutions even though mentees can be sourced from other institutions. Before the mentor embarks on advising on the skills and knowledge required, they must first ensure that the mentee has an adequate understanding of the environment they will be operating (Zhang et al., 2016). Aspects such as the formal structure of the organizations, the culture, and other fundamental elements of the organization must be made conscious of the mentee. At the same time, the mentor must make sure that the mentee is comfortable in the mentorship environment. It is only when the mentee is comfortable that they can open up and learns what the mentor has to offer. The mentor has to make themselves competent, rational and approachable
The mentee is responsible for their learning and, therefore, must make sure that they are diligent, follow instructions, and learn as much as possible. The mentee has to realize that it is their responsibility to make themselves viable each time of the mentorship and take personnel charge of what they have to learn. Responsibility, in this case, is taking on challenges and assignments, always striving to implement them successfully (Foster, Ooms, & Marks-Maran, 2015). The mentee also has to be receptive to the mentorship offered and positively react to learning. Reception of ideas given means one always has to seek feedback and clarification from the mentor. Feedback valuable as it enables the mentor to know that the mentee is genuinely interested in learning as well, giving them a chance to clarify aspects that may seem to have grey areas. The mentee also has to make sure that they accomplish whatever objective they promised they would achieve so that they portray an image of integrity and showing that they can be trusted. The learning is the responsibility of the mentee, and the cooperation of the mentee determines the success of the mentorship.
Independence in carrying out the clinical procedures as advised by the mentor will demonstrate that the mentee is sufficient to handle themselves. The mentor has to show that they can make their own decisions after learning from the mentor. Such a demonstration of skills sends the message that the person is learning and is consequently dependable. Discussing long term care objectives with the mentor is important and must be prompted by the mentee. The mentee has to take charge of the learning and make sure of the learning such that the mentorship program benefits them. They have to understand that they are the focus of the mentorship program and therefore make the most of it.
What Are the Limitations/Challenges in Mentorship?
Mentorship also poses several limitations to both the mentor and the mentee. According to Bates (2020), the mentor's role became more challenging as they lack protected time in balancing the constant demands on their role as a mentor. They have identified work demands to be having a significant impact on their ability to engage in mentoring activities, such as attending updates and relevant courses, as well as expressing concerns about accountability and supporting failing students. With this in mind, I realized that it is essential to remember that the decisions mentors make in assessing students have a direct impact on securing the future of the nursing workforce. Mentors must be able to perform this essential role well, so mentors need support in the workplace through continuing professional development (Weese, Jakubik, Eliades, & Huth, 2015). In my opinion, continuing professional development does not only mean having training from universities but also should be supported and be valued with a recognized status within the workplace. Through this approach, mentors will be more respected and recognized.
On the other hand, the mentee's level of knowledge, skills, and preparation illustrate some limitations in their engagement in mentorship. The mentee must at all times realize that they have all it takes to take in the guidance as being provided by the mentor. The preparation of the mentee for the mentorship can be a limitation to the learning as well as the relationship that they have with the mentor (Weese et al., 2015). Without proper preparation on the part of the mentee, the mentor will find it hard to guide them on what they need to learn. At the same time, the attitude and the mindset of the mentee can cause tensions in the mentorship program. A mentee that is not keen on learning accepting corrections as well as having a positive outlook on what is being offered will limit the mentorship. The mentor has to have basic knowledge and skills, which will be used as the foundation for further guidance. Without which, the mentorship faces serious hurdles as they have the
What Kind of Mentor Will You Look For?
The best mentor to look for in nursing practice is one that has the knowledge and skills but can give individuals attention and needs. Successful mentorship requires that the mentor and the mentee have a positive relationship on a personal level before they can engage professionally (Zhang et al., 2016). Having a compatible mentor will help have a natural feel where each party is free to express themselves in the achievement of the objectives. The mentor must, therefore, be understanding and one that can provide personalized mentorship as the need arises. The mentor must be objective oriented and help the mentee to achieve the skills they have through the mentorship. At the same time, the mentor must be of genuine interest in improving the mentee to achieve the desired skills without any coercion. Such a mentor makes a personal effort to meet the needs of the mentor and will go out of their way to make sure that the mentee learns the necessary concepts.
More important is that the mentor ought to have the skills and knowledge to guide the novice to become the expert successfully. Mentorship requires that the mentor is skilled in their area of interest such that the mentee gains from them positively (Zhang et al., 2016). The skills and knowledge are central to the success of the program since it is what the mentorship is focused on. The mentor needs to be an expert in their field so that the knowledge and skills that they pass...
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