When I started my nursing career, our unit had a mentor program, and my mentor was a lifesaver! You had a preceptor and then you had a separate mentor you could go to. This mentor was there to be a separate person to provide support and advice (in and out of the hospital). Starting out in a Cardiac ICU was very stressful and full of anxiety so it was nice to have that person to go to, to provide reassurance and support.
Should this little “perk” extend to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN)? Um, yeah! When I graduate, having any type of mentor would be GOLD for this new APRN! Some could argue that APRNs wouldn’t necessarily need a mentor because they are already an experienced nurse so therefore, they already know how to deal with the stress of patient care. They already know how to approach patients, organize their day, and juggle life in and out of the hospital. While some of this can be true, APRNs need mentors just as much as new nurses do, especially new APRN.
When you begin your career as an APRN, you’re essentially starting over. You have new stresses, new responsibilities and you have to rethink and reorganize because you’re in a new role now that you are unfamiliar with. You need just as much guidance (if not more) as a graduate nurse. Sadly, in a lot of hospitals there is no opportunity for such a type of program for APRNs. You go and do an orientation for a couple weeks with a preceptor and then you’re on your own, having to figure things out. Sure you may make a friend that can help you and hopefully, they’ve been there awhile to help further guide you. But, this doesn’t always happen and from what I’ve observed and heard, you’re left trying to figure things out on your own. Hopefully when I graduate in a year I will work at a hospital that either has this type of “perk” in place or I find someone with more experience, who is willing to be a friend and guide, not just a preceptor.