I remember my first job as an LPN in a skilled nursing facility, it was frightening! I was hired to work the afternoon shift; however, I was trained on the dayshift, big difference, right? After a 3 day “orientation” period where I learned where the fire pulls were, where the kitchen was, how to turn off the valves for gas, and where the medication cart was stored, I was sent off to work a unit alone on afternoons.
The first day I arrived at 2:45 pm (early as usual), the day nurse was busy with documenting in charts, so they didn’t have a lot of time to spend with me. We walked through the Kardex quickly, she handed me a key ring full of unlabeled keys and left for the day. I remember thinking that I had about 28 residents depending on me, and I was alone aside from 3 CNAs who were scurrying about giving showers, setting up meals for dinner, etc. as I stood behind my medication cart.
So, when I read an article regarding mentoring and how it can be the “miracle gro” for nurses, my experience came back to me like a bad dream! What research has shown is that both parties (the mentor and the mentee) contribute to each other’s growth and development and that the reward of the mentor and mentee relationship is immeasurable. Imagine, growing your nurses both professionally and personally, a win-win! The American Nurses Association offers several mentoring programs for nurses, a comprehensive 8-month program and a “speed mentoring” program that is flexible and short-term. What a novel idea, having a resource at the other end of the line, I wish I had that when I was a new nurse for sure!
There are also mentoring programs that can be managed in your center. The key is finding the right nurse to be the mentor and ensuring that the partnership with the mentee is mutually beneficial. Think about it, the rewards could be amazing, happy staff make for happy residents and families. Do a little research, talk to your team, if you don’t already have a mentoring program maybe the time has come! Stay well and stay informed!
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