Nursing Mentorship: Mentor Material

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“Mentoring is especially useful in nursing because it is a way to help new nurses enter the field while giving experienced nurses a chance to showcase and share their institutional knowledge,”  

Benjamin Evans, DNP, and president of the New Jersey State Nurses Association.

In the Nursing Profession, the element of true mentorship is scarce, it’s almost trace (even in advanced communities).

The older & fulfilled Nurses are busy chasing other dreams & getting better. Many of them don’t even know what mentorship is (from an experiential frame). What many of them call mentorship is just ‘Basic Social Mingling,’ it does nothing to influence the perspective of Nurses who are still growing.

The younger ones want to know what this Nursing Business is all about, they look for reasons to keep the chase.

Oh, hold it there big guy. It goes way beyond holding Nursing conferences & leadership summits. These channels serve a purpose, and the primary purpose is to ‘Gather.’ At first, everyone is excited about the fresh inspiration that they have caught, but then, after these big conferences, the energy seems to ebb. It gradually & quietly dies out.

This is where the follow-up should come in. It’s like evangelism. You check up on the new converts, to see how they are doing. We must keep fanning the flames that have been ignited in their young hearts.

There’s so much out there to kill their young spirits as growing Nurses. So much. They need reliable anchors to sharpen their focus. And mentorship is that tool that can help them.

Nursing is taxing. It’s difficult. Draining, horrible, tiring, and most of the time, annoying (well, it also depends on what side of the ‘Nursing Spectrum’ you find yourself – if you are behind a computer screen, well, I think you have other types of devils to fight). 

Stop Minding Your Business

While studying as a General Nurse, I found myself in this situation, and the only anchor that kept me focus was found in the safe spiritual harbor of the Fellowship of Christian Nurses Nigeria. That community gave me a reason to keep chasing my dreams, and gradually, I began to understand what my roles were.

But, there is still so much to do. We need more Nurses who ‘think mentorship.’ Nurses who are not just concerned about their own journey, but are ready & willing to allow others to ride on the winds & waves of their success; are inspired, from within to see that the next generation of Nurses is stronger, confident, and ready to pass on this culture to the next – a chain reaction of inspiration – the baton must keep being passed to the next…

We need to be deliberate about building Nursing Communities that have the culture of mentorship woven into their fabric.

Stop minding your business. Reach out to young Nurses around you, and talk to them. I do that. I intentionally bring up conversations with my younger colleagues, to see how they are faring. Some are going through different kinds of hardships. They need someone.

You see, mentorship is not just coaching. It’s a life-long relationship between parties who are willing to share.

Those of us who are willing to share our time, expertise & experiences in the field of mentorship may think that we don’t have anything to gain. But there are a lot of goodies waiting (not a mentorship fee for a year, Nah, better than that). 

You who is watering is also getting nourishment as you share what you have. And the more you share, the more you realize that your mind is opening up to want to learn more, and as you learn more, boy, oh, boy, you are growing bigger – as you seek opportunities to expand & stretch your leadership abilities. 

Not A One-Size-Fits-All Approach

This is like professional fatherhood or motherhood if the term mentorship sounds too traditional & rigid. 

It’s a relationship. One done from the depths of the heart (maybe that’s why many of us have not been able to fully understand it).

The Nursing community benefits greatly from the implementation of mentorship – from the patients/clients, hospital administrations, other healthcare professionals, and the mentor/mentee. And this is why we have to understand how to approach it, having the understanding that there are a wide variety of cultural differences & even individual variances (and even differences in healthcare organization policies).  

The method(s) that will be effective in successfully mentoring young or older Nurses in Canada, might not be effective if it is used to mentor Nurses in Nigeria (though there may be general principles to follow – maybe).  

Even on an individual basis. We are social organisms. We respond to different situations in life differently. A good mentor is one who knows this and is able to utilize this knowledge to guide young Nurses who are looking for a hand to hold. 

Now, I am not talking of formal tradition here. I want to be very informal. This is not an academic article, it’s a blog post. I am trying to remain honest with you, writing from my own little experience, exposure, expertise & adventure (hey, I may be wrong).  

Mentorship doesn’t really have a formula. And it may not fit into the limiting boundaries of a theory (The Five Laws of Mentorship…lol). 

True mentorship should be allowed to flow as it is, putting into consideration several factors. And the most important one being the nature of the individual seeking to be mentored – their unique experiences, exposures & build-up. 

 Mentor Material

We are all potential mentors...

In one way or the other, we were mentored (either good mentorship or the relatively poor one). And every Nurse has a mentor in them, provided you are an aspiring leader. 

It is one thing to know what you are, and another to live what you are. Many are aware, but they are not ready or inspired to let that awareness become kinetic.  

You are mentor material. The gigantic idea is to inspire everyone to become a leader. The leadership clan is not reserved for a few elites. The problem is that only a few are ready to remain in the crucibles of leadership – constantly getting crushed into ‘fineness,’ and smoothness. 

You might have a mentor right now around you. But you may not have recognized him or her. I am not talking about the Elon Musk kind of mentorship. No, someone who is right within your field, they are in your presence, interacting with you. You are learning from them, admiring them. They may not even know what effects they are having on you, and it will benefit both of you, if you both come to the realization of what is happening, because you become intentional, and when there is intentionality, there is more release, there is an awareness that is transformed into energy, and guess what? More people are drawn into that space – amazing, isn’t it? (now, that’s a very long paragraph, forgive me). 

I would have loved to go on and on, writing. But my time is up. I have exceeded the One Thousand Words limit. But before I leave you here, let me share an interesting academic definition of what Nursing Mentorship is (something I caught from my research).

“a dyadic, long-term and reciprocal process
between senior experienced nurse and a junior nurse and or
a nursing student, facilitating knowledge and skill acquisition
while providing psychosocial and emotional support with the
aims of fostering both personal and professional development
for effective role change into the nursing profession”

Shaikh Abdul Matin, Deparment of Internal Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore

Uhm, I hope you like it… To read the full paper, follow this link, it’s very interesting.

We may continue learning in another article, but meanwhile, make sure you share this piece with a colleague. It may awaken the mentor in them, or direct someone to become intentional in looking for a mentor. 

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