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Immediate Openings: Role Models and Mentors

Immediate Openings: Role Models and Mentors

Laura Wisniewski RN, BS, CIC

Nursing profession seeking exceptional candidates from all generations, cultures and specialty areas. The ideal applicant possesses the following skills and characteristics: future oriented, global thinker, change agent, dedicated to life long learning, enthusiastic, empathetic listener, self aware and derives satisfaction from helping others learn and grow. Sense of humor essential.

Comprehensive benefits package: Flexible hours, design your own working conditions, with excellent potential for long and short term relationships. Unlimited opportunities to positively impact individuals, organizations and future generations. Apply now.

The status of role model is awarded to an individual by someone else, often without their awareness. Encounters may be brief, intermittent or extended over a period of time. The role model exhibits certain skills or behaviors that are emulated by another. It is possible to have several role models at the same time. It is also possible to be a role model to many individuals.

Preceptors are experienced staff members that assist in the training of new nurses during orientation. The role of preceptor is an assigned one-to-one relationship for a pre-set time limit. The focus is real world application and evaluation. Many preceptors are excellent role models and go on to become mentors.

A mentor is a wise counselor or a career role model to emulate. Classic mentoring is a voluntary relationship between two people that develops over time. Two factors must exist in order for mentoring to occur. First, the mentor must see potential in the protégé and be willing to help develop that potential. Second, the protégé values the mentor’s experience and wishes to learn from the mentor. Mentoring fosters collegial relationships, enhances self esteem, and promotes professional development.

The demand for role models and mentors in nursing has never been greater. Experts predict a shortfall of 500,000 to 1 million nurses in the United States by the year 2020. A combination of economic and social factors account for the current nursing shortage. Aging Baby Boomers are placing an unprecedented demand on health care. The largest demographic group of nurses is comprised of women from the Baby Boomer generation; many of which plan to retire within the next decade. The nursing profession has continued to struggle to attract younger generations, men, and minorities. There is also a severe shortage of nursing instructors and qualified applicants are being turned away from nursing schools.

The transfer of nursing knowledge is a complex experiential process. Nursing skills cannot safely be learned by trial and error. In order to advance through Benner’s nursing skill development stages, from novice to expert, nurses need the guidance of other nurses. Upon hire into an organization graduate nurses are provided an initial orientation period with a preceptor. However, it takes 2-3 years of experience in the same practice setting to become a competent practitioner. Many new nurses are exiting their positions or the profession before ever reaching this level. The reasons cited most often for leaving are lack of training and support.

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