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I've always believed having mentors is important for success. How do I go about finding a nurse mentor at this early stage in my career?

Wednesday March 27, 2013
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I'm a student about to apply to accelerated BSN programs in my area. I used to be a journalist, so this is a second career for me. I've always believed having mentors is important for success, but I am not sure how to go about finding a nurse mentor at this early stage in my career. I intern at a hospital once a week, but as volunteers we don't have much contact with nurses directly and many of them just don't have time for us. I have no problem asking for what I want, but I am not sure how to proceed with nurses. What advice can you offer on how I can establish this type of relationship?

Looking for a Mentor

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Looking for a Mentor,

You are wise to seek a mentor at this early stage in your nursing career. One of the best places to find a nurse mentor is through nursing professional associations, such as your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (www.ana.org), National Association of Student Nurses (www.nsna.org) — there are many practicing members that remain members of NSNA for the very purpose of mentoring — and the American Organization of Nurse Executives (www.aone.org). Contact each association and ask about mentoring programs that already exist. I also encourage you to attend local chapter meetings of each, as a guest for now, and do some networking. Be sure to have business cards with you.

Read “In search of the right mentor” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Right-mentor) for additional tips and advice.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.