Nursing: How to Find a Mentor, How to Be a Mentor

Nurse writing on clipboard
Nurse writing on clipboard

When you work in the nursing field, finding a mentor can be one of the best ways to strengthen your experience and advance your career. If you are just starting out and need to find a mentor, you need to determine what you are looking for from a mentoring experience.

If you are completing your online BSN degree (Bachelors of Science in Nursing), it's time you considered becoming a mentor to a nurse who is looking for more experience and guidance.

Consider What You Want out of a Mentoring Experience

Mentoring is a great way to teach someone all that you know about your career and a way to build a trusting relationship with another person in the nursing field. Maybe you're ready to give back all that you have learned in your years as a nurse, or maybe you just began in the field and want to get some career advice. Think about what a mentoring experience means to you and look for ways to fulfill your goals.

Think About Your Weaknesses and Strengths

If you are actively searching for a mentor, you'll want to find an individual who has different strengths than you do. You'll want to find a person who has a personality different from yours so that you can learn as much as possible. When two people forge a mentoring relationship and they have complementary personalities, each will be able to learn a great deal from the other.

Think About What Makes a Great Mentor

Whether searching for a mentor or considering being a mentor, it’s important to understand the qualities that make a good mentor. An individual who decides to be a mentor is a person that should be admirable as a good role model for others in the field. You'll want to be a great listener if you become a mentor, and both people should work hard to have open and honest communication.

The only way to truly learn from someone is to get honest feedback. Usually, a person who has at least five more years of experience than you do is ready to be a solid mentor for you.

Think About Who Your Mentor Could Be

As a nurse looking for a mentor, consider people you have worked with in the past who have been in leadership positions. Think about their level of experience and their potential availability to be a mentor to you. Make a list of all potential mentors, listing why you would want each individual as a mentor and why you think they would be a good match for you.

Once you have a list of people you may want to mentor you, it's time to start asking about availability. Find out who is available to you and don't be afraid to ask people by whom you may feel intimidated. When you find a person who agrees to mentor you in the nursing field, you are on your way to learning more about nursing and gaining the valuable experience you crave.