Nursing

Ask the expert: Defining the role of a mentor

Nurse Leader Insider, December 21, 2009

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This week, Diana Swihart, PhD, DMin, MSN, CS, RN-BC, discusses the importance of mentors in a healthcare organization and some examples of mentor roles.

Q: Some preceptors on my unit are training to be mentors and I am unfamiliar with the role mentors should play. What are some examples of mentor roles?

A: Mentors are an integral part of healthcare organizations committed to developing highly-skilled, customer-focused staff, and to developing a continuous supply of skilled leaders committed to quality, compassionate care. Mentorships are about helping nurses cultivate their careers, gently pushing them into challenging situations slightly beyond their present abilities, and enabling them to discover new strengths and insights.

Mentors help and inspire mentees—they embrace their presence and wondrous possibilities. They help shape critical-thinking and decision-making skills by sharing their experiences. They write letters of support, provide invaluable counsel, and introduce the mentee to a wider network of nurses, frequently recommending them for projects, committees, advancements, and honors.

To read other examples of mentor roles, click here.

Editor's note: Do you have a question for our experts? E-mail your queries to Editorial Assistant Sarah Kearns at skearns@hcpro.com and see your name in print next week! In the meantime, head over to our Web site and view a growing collection of advice from our experts.



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