Why Nurse Mentorship is Essential for New Graduates in the Nursing Field

Nursing internships

Why Nurse Mentorship is Essential for New Graduates in the Nursing Field

Becoming a nurse is a difficult process that involves intense study, gaining clinical experience, and passing a licensing exam. However, that’s only the beginning.

Once someone graduates from nursing school and passes their exams to become a registered nurse (RN), they’ve still only gained a fraction of the knowledge and experience they’ll need as a nurse. They still need to practice and improve their skills, get a feel for the day-to-day work of nursing. And learn how to connect with a wide range of patients.

Nurse mentorship can help bridge the gap and make the transition from school to work easier for new nursing graduates. Here’s why it’s so important to have mentorship programs in place.

Helps Recent Graduates Gain Experience and Build Skills

Recent graduates have learned many skills required in the field of nursing, but that doesn’t mean they’ve practiced them over and over again. In some cases, they might have only gotten to practice an important skill once or twice before getting their first nursing job. There simply isn’t time in a nursing program to ensure that all graduates are completely fluent in all skills.

A mentor can help less experienced nurses understand where they need to build their skills and help them get the experience they need to work independently. It takes a while for new nurses to find their footing and get comfortable with all the tasks they’re expected to perform. Having someone on hand who can walk them through a task or demonstrate the correct way to do something can be incredibly helpful. And accelerate the learning process.

Encourages New Nurses to Ask Questions

Having a mentor can help empower and encourage new nurses to ask questions when they’re unsure of something. Many new nurses are afraid to approach doctors and other nurses when they have a question, for fear of bothering them or looking unqualified.

New nurses who don’t know whom they can talk to for guidance are more likely to make mistakes on the job or waste time trying to find the answers to their questions on their own. Knowing that they have a designated person who will answer their questions. And help them learn as much as possible can make a huge difference.

Asking questions is an important part of gaining experience as a nurse, but many medical professionals are too busy to answer them when they’re trying to help patients. A mentor, on the other hand, is prepared and ready to answer questions as needed.

Boosts Camaraderie Among Nurses

Many nurses feel overwhelmed and isolated when they start their first official jobs. In some situations, it can feel like a “sink or swim” environment. It can be challenging for new nurses to feel like they’re part of the team, especially when everyone is constantly rushing from task to task.

Having a mentor can also mean having a friend. Getting to know a more experienced nurse opens the door to greater camaraderie and helps new nurses feel included.

Reduces Mistakes Due to Inexperience

It’s impossible to prevent all errors in the field of medicine. Accidents and mistakes are going to happen from time to time. However, a lot of preventable errors do occur and it’s important for all medical facilities to minimize these errors as much as possible.

Inexperienced nurses are more likely to make mistakes, and there’s no fix for this except by gaining that experience. However, having an experienced nurse mentoring and overseeing a new nurse’s work can be an important part of reducing mistakes while new hires are gaining confidence and skill.

Minimizing errors leads to better patient outcomes and experiences. A seasoned nurse can help catch some errors before they occur, which increases patient safety while helping novice nurses learn.

Helps New Nurses Manage Stress

Nursing is a notoriously stressful career path. Nurses work long hours and are constantly interacting with distressed, injured, sick, and dying patients. It’s fulfilling, but exhausting work, both physically and mentally.

While nursing school tips can help students manage their workload and academic stress, it’s hard to prepare for the reality of working as an RN. Nurses have to learn how to manage their stress if they want to stay in the field long-term.

Being paired up with an experienced nurse is a great way for new nurses to learn about stress management techniques. A mentor can share their personal experiences and tips to help overwhelmed nurses prioritize self-care.

Provides a Role Model to Emulate

Working nurses have to juggle many different tasks and be able to switch between them as needed. It isn’t so much multitasking as it is organization—nurses have to keep track of different patients, records. And responsibilities at a fast pace, which can be intimidating and even overwhelming to a newbie.

A mentor can help new nurses by not only explaining how they stay organized and on task. But by modeling those skills in real time. A new nursing graduate can learn a lot about organization, and communication. And other essential skills, simply by watching a more experienced nurse at work.

Shapes Nurses’ Career Paths

Mentors can help newly-qualified nurses uncover their special interests and learn more about the different career options available to them. They can also help novice nurses build their network so they can gain experience in an area of nursing that they want to explore.

Nursing internships are another great way for new nurses to explore their options. These are shorter-term placements that can help nurses decide on a career path or gain new skills they’ll need if they want to specialize.

Provides Essential Support 

Being a new nurse is challenging and there will be many obstacles along the way. A nursing mentor will provide essential support for novice nurses and help them problem-solve to overcome these challenges.

Support from a mentor can make a huge difference in helping inexperienced nurses gain the confidence they need to thrive in the fast-paced environment of a hospital. With the guidance and support of a mentor, nurses can quickly learn the ropes and become effective and compassionate caregivers!