While education is important, it is usually never enough unless you have the experience of utilizing this education. Moreover, when you do go out and start working, it is not as easy to implement everything you were taught at school in terms of the different situations you are likely to face.
At times like these, what you need is guidance and support, which is often provided by a mentor. Having a mentor makes a whole world of difference to a student's career, and equips her/him better to take on leadership positions in the future.
A mentor is someone who you can perceive as a role model, someone who teaches you how to take your own decisions, make mistakes, and learn from them, but always with the right guidance.
Recently there has been great interest in the importance of mentoring in nursing education, its effectiveness, and the outcome of establishing such a relationship. Here, we make an attempt to analyze all these aspects.
The Importance of Mentoring in Nursing
In a field like nursing where everything is based on hands-on experience, mentoring is extremely important. When there is a mentor to guide you, you find yourself a little more comfortable and open to the idea of embracing all the experiences that you attain while on the job.
The importance of mentoring lies in the reducing number of experienced professionals in the field and the continually expanding health care industry that requires several more experienced professionals.
While there have been numerous advances in technology, individuals still require direct care by professional nurses, who are lacking in number. Further, there is a shortage of those who are capable of educating potential nurses in all the different fields of nursing.
As such, whoever desires to enter the nursing profession should be given the right kind of training, guidance, and experience so that they are confident with their jobs and can develop leadership skills to grow into such a position in the future. This is where the role of mentoring in nursing education becomes extremely essential.
In short, the purpose of mentoring is threefold. The first is to be able to attract and retain employees, the second is to enhance employee productivity, and the third is to ensure employee satisfaction.
Who is an ideal mentor? An ideal mentor for nursing students is someone who has a suitable amount of relevant work experience, the ability to provide feedback, generate enthusiasm among students, and encourage a positive approach to the field.
When studies have been conducted about the relationship between a nursing mentor and a student, it has been found that experienced nurses have had to take on the role of mentoring in addition to their duties, which has become difficult to handle.
However, these studies showed that the mentors were willing to give their students due guidance in spite of their demanding jobs. The enthusiasm has been great and has led to the development of a positive relationship between the mentor and the nursing student.
While a mentor is expected to perform different roles, the main focus lies on a mentor's ability to serve as a role model to nursing students. As mentioned earlier, there is a shortage of those who can educate in the field of nursing, and hospitals are denying placements to nursing students due to lack of experience and individuals to train them.
To deal with this shortage, employing mentorship strategies in the process of nursing education is perhaps one of the best options that can be utilized.
Fulfilling leadership roles in the field of nursing is imperative, and this gap can be bridged only by employing the necessary mentoring strategies for nursing students. Those already in leadership roles should be encouraged to take on the role of a mentor, and with patience and the desire to educate, should create new leaders to take their position.
By doing so, the advancement of the health care sector and implementation of better policies in the field of nursing is likely. Implementing mentoring in nursing education will help deal with the challenges that it faces in today's day and time and largely improve it in the future.