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Immediate Openings: Role Models and Mentors

Immediate Openings: Role Models and Mentors

Laura Wisniewski RN, BS, CIC

After successfully leaping over the hurdles of nursing school acceptance, care plans, case studies, exams, clinical rotations, state boards and job interviews; graduate nurses may find themselves lost in the gap. The gap is the danger zone between theory taught in nursing school and the real world of nursing.

Nursing socialization can be very intimidating to a new nurse. The responsibilities are great and much is expected in a very short time. Think back for a moment, to your first job as a nurse; after the initial honeymoon phase, how long was it before reality shock set in? Role models and mentors can help navigate the rough waters of this transition process.

Unfortunately, there are still some nurses that sabotage, instead of nurture graduate nurses. These individuals serve as horrible examples of what not to do. In nursing literature the unpleasant stereotype; “nurses eat their young”, has been replaced with other terms such as lateral violence, horizontal violence or bullying. No matter the name, the behavior remains the same and poses a threat to retention. Exceptional role models and mentors are willing to intervene and serve as advocates.

A role model and mentor

I was a new ER nurse, eager and easily excitable. Each time a patient had a PVC on the cardiac monitor, I would have one too.

Trudy could handle anything that came through the door. She knew things. Doctors listened when she spoke. No matter how crazy busy it got, she treated every patient in the emergency room as if they were the only patient. Yet she still had the time, energy and patience to show me the ropes.

She could run a code on one of the nursing units while the doctor was busy with another cardiac arrest in the ER. She knew when a middle aged man complaining of a “funny feeling” was having a heart attack. Trudy could tell if a woman in labor would make it to the OB department or if she needed to set up for an emergent delivery. I witnessed her calming aggressive intoxicated patients with the tone of her voice. She held the hands of dying patients and hugged strangers who had just lost a loved one.

One evening a young father carried his ten month old, dusky colored daughter though the double doors of the department. As I started to rush toward them, Trudy stopped me before I had a chance to move. She quickly handed me a surgical mask and told me; “That baby has meningitis.” Her diagnosis was later confirmed. Trudy simultaneously cared for the child, the parents and her protégé.

I told myself, that one day I wanted to be just like her. I have spent my career attempting to keep that promise. I encourage every experienced nurse to become a Trudy for a generation of new nurses.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    genman

    almost 3 years ago

    62 comments

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    juliiarobert

    about 3 years ago

    32 comments

    Patient advocates play an important role in the care of those in medical need. While the role is fairly new, it's quickly gaining popularity. Are you cut out for this new career? Find out now!70-516/70-562/70-648/70-652/70-681/70-576/70-620/70-663/

  • Wiyuna1_max50

    wiyuna

    about 6 years ago

    126 comments

    nice story ^^

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    frumpster65

    about 6 years ago

    88 comments

    Great article...I too think this would be a good article to email to other nurses...
    RonRose...I do have to ask...if yuo see a new nurse whom you think is doing a shoddy job..have you offered help or instruction??
    Maybe they arent "shoddy" ..maybe they are just "struggling"

  • Mickeymouseclubhouse_240_max50

    kstiltner1

    about 6 years ago

    7170 comments

    Awesome story.

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    ronrose1950

    about 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I have been a nurse for 20 yr. Throughout my career I have seen the best and some of the worst nurses out there. Most recently I have worked for a local hospice in Fl. since there is such a nursing shortage I've noticed that if a bad nurse gets hired no matter what she does it's ok. How can this be? Just because there is a shortage do we let any shoddy nurse continue to practice? I have become very disheartened by this trend that I am considering another career choice. Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    margeaux

    over 6 years ago

    18 comments

    where does one find a good nursing school in Los Angeles?

  • Karin_001_max50

    KasieRN

    over 6 years ago

    10 comments

    Loved this article! Though I am "retired" ...the physician I worked for retired so I did too! I still want to stay active in nursing and the idea of teaching is sooo appealing. I think of the women who mentored me in newborn nursery and post partum as a new grad. I will never forget them.
    For the past 20 years or so I do retreats on "Self Awareness and Healing". I love it! There is so much to share and give to the next generation coming up. I want to "work" as long as I have great health and stamina! Kasie

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    kathymaria

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    It would be so wonderful to be a nurse just like trudy and to be able to teach others what i have learnt from experience. I guess it takes an open mind to be willing to learn and take corrections and tolerance along with putting the knowledge of nursing school to practise.

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    Suzanne2010

    over 6 years ago

    24 comments

    This is an article that should be posted on the nuses breakroom board. I just don't understand how someone who is a nurse could be so hateful to another. Especially when the newbie will eventually become experienced and take some of the "load off" the other nurses! KasieRn: I think you would be PERFECT to help nursing students seeing as you are retired and would actually be more accesable than someone still in the work force! I bet students would LOVE to have an informal "chat session" with you -even once a week- Maybe you could post a message at the local community college on the RN hallway. I'd personally love something like that. (Can you tell I'm a first semester RN student?) :)

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    roselee99

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    hi i would like to be a nurse mentor my name is Rose Lee Montgomery and i am a CENA and i am woeking on my RN i hope to have it soon. i enjoy nurse because i love taking care of my patient and being around my patients what i like the most is when i can make them smile. so iam looking forward of join your team of mentors. thank you.

  • Karin_001_max50

    KasieRN

    over 6 years ago

    10 comments

    Very interesting and inspiring article. I had wonderful mentors in my nursing career and only wish I wasn't retired and continue to be for some young nurse in her beginning years. New grads need someone to look up to and have inspiration.

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    ladybugbow

    over 6 years ago

    18 comments

    an awesome mentor can make a world of difference

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    kstiltner1

    over 6 years ago

    7170 comments

    Wonderful story

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    ranessa

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I am getting ready to take my LPN state boards this month and I am hoping to encounter a wonderful mentor to encourage me that I have chosen the right path.

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