No matter who you ask, seasoned nurses will tell you that they didn’t get to where they are now on their own. In a career that focuses all of your energy on caring for others, it’s important to have a support system. A part of this support system is a professional mentor — someone who’s been in your shoes, knows what is expected of you, and can help you move forward in your career.
Here are four reasons why having a mentor (and proactively nurturing your relationship) can help you in your nursing career:
1. They Empower You
Everyone could use their own personal cheerleader, and that’s exactly what a mentor can do for you. They provide support and keep you motivated, whether you’re heading back to school to earn your RN to BSN degree, seeking a new career opportunity, or simply trying to make it through a difficult week at work.
2. They Advocate for You
Your mentor is your biggest advocate. They are there to help you set goals and explore new opportunities. As an experienced professional, they can provide you with the connections you need to build your network, identify strategies that can lead you on your chosen career path, and serve as a reference when you choose to enroll in a program or apply for a new position.
3. They Teach You
Your mentor has one of the most important things a nursing professional can have: experience. They understand what it takes to do the job well, and advance your career. They can provide invaluable advice and answer your life- and work-related questions as you navigate your way through your career.
4. They Listen
Sometimes the best support a person can provide is to just listen. Your mentor knows what you’re going through and can relate to you in a way that other people in your life may not be able to. This is crucial, whether you need someone to vent to, to console you, or give an outside non-biased opinion when you’re having an issue with someone else at work.
How to Find a Mentor
Connecting with a mentor can be done a number of ways. The first place to start is to see if your workplace has a formal mentorship program. You may also find a mentor when you enroll in a professional training or degree program; for example, the Madison School of Healthcare’s RN to BSN program matches each student with an advisor who can provide both academic and career guidance.
You could also reach out to someone in your workplace and ask if you can meet with them to get some advice, and build on the relationship from there. Chances are, they’ll be flattered, and it never hurts to build connections with the people who are by your side every day at work.
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