Multiplying your influence — what it means to mentor
Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC
According to statistics, many nurses in leadership roles are “aging.” The average age of a nurse leader is 45-50 years old, says American Nurse Today.
A study by the National Institutes of Health shows the same data (47.5 years old on average) and includes that many of these nurse managers plan on retiring in the next five years. In addition, the study mentions that these nurse managers are very satisfied with their roles.
But becoming a nurse manager doesn't just “happen.” (It's not like, “Poof! You're a DON!”) Someone took the time to mentor the nurse manager and train her to develop into the role.
So what does this information tell us? It instructs us that we must mentor our younger nurses to prepare them to take over our roles.
Don't expect the “mentee” to come to you and ask for mentorship. Though the rare few may, it is up to you, the mentor, to reach out. Most of our younger nurses are just waiting for someone to encourage them. to see something inside of them worthy of growth. (And who doesn't crave for someone to make them feel like they are worthy of investing time in?)
The cool thing is something so much bigger than you ever imagined can happen in this “mentor and mentee” relationship. Think about the impact you as the mentor can have. What you have can shape their future, which is why I cannot understand that on all the zombie apocalypse shows, the longtime survivors (mentors) don't advise the sheltered newbies (mentees) to stop wearing tank tops and put on all leather! Just think about it for a while…
In other words, don't let your mentees be “eaten” by others. Protect them by teaching them how to be a leader.
So, if you are in a leadership role, pick out one nurse and start mentoring him or her. And I say one because if you truly want to mold a mentee, you can mentor only one person at a time.
Remember that this relationship has a “shelf life.” Eventually, you will have been successful and your mentee will be ready to stand alone, and actually be ready to duplicate your process. (See one, do one, teach one.)
Make a difference, don't eat your young (leave that to the zombie shows) and help the next generation be ready to make the incredible difference you make every day!
Just keeping it real,
The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.