Mentorship Matters

Mentoring — defined as a voluntary, mutually beneficial and long-term relationship where an experienced and knowledgeable leader supports the maturation of a less experienced nurse — is a critical strategy to support nurses in professional and leadership development. When you mentor a less senior nurse, not only are you benefiting the profession, you are helping yourself. There is substantial evidence showing how it affects the mentors’ leadership and professional development for the better.

The benefits of mentoring:

  • Bridges the gap between theory and nursing practice
  • Provides guidance for transformational leadership
  • Enhances critical thinking and career development
  • Increases risk taking, self-esteem and job enrichment
  • Improves quality of patient care
  • Enhances productivity, managerial skills and a sense of professionalism
  • Is a key recruitment and retention strategy for nurses. Nurses who are mentored are more likely to stay in their current position.

Participate in an 80/20 program

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario promotes an 80/20 model of employment, whereby nurses 55 and over, in all sectors spend 20 per cent of their time on professional development or activities, especially mentoring new colleagues. Research shows that the 80/20 model has profound health-care benefits as well as improved career satisfaction. The program also opens up full-time positions for new graduates and helps keep experienced nurses in the work force.

Participate in an Advanced Clinical/Practice Fellowships (in Ontario)

  • Advocate for nursing mentorship!

    A serious lack of mentorship opportunities in Ontario signifies a decline in professional development opportunities that you can help reverse. How can you make a difference? Here are some suggestions:

    • Advocate for funding of a variety of leadership development/mentorship programs.
    • Put a mechanism in place to support the culture of mentorship in health-care settings such as continuing education workshops, conferences and staff recognition.
    • Develop and support strong preceptorship programs through comprehensive orientation programs, recognition of time commitments in preceptorship, guidelines and support.
    • Recognize the responsibility of all RNs to mentor and support novice nurses.
    • Seek opportunities to find a mentor such as through networking, attending continuing education workshops, becoming involved in your professional organization, and participating in agency wide committees or groups.
    • Develop collegial relationships. Partner with a peer to support each other. Find someone who may be willing to coach or act as a preceptor.
    • Ask question of more experience nurses. Find positive role models. Strive for excellence in your practice.