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Nevada Nurses Association project aims to help new RN grads

Tuesday September 11, 2012
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Nevada nurses hope a new pilot mentoring program will do at least two things: help new nurses navigate the transition from school to practice and help experienced nurses remember their own excitement about the profession.

Nurses in the Nevada Nurses Association Mentoring Project, sponsored by a grant from the American Nurses Association, are matched with newly licensed nurses according to the profiles mentors and mentees complete. Then the partners communicate through email about any questions or problems the mentees have. It takes a commitment of only 15 minutes a week for eight weeks by nurses with at least three years’ experience.

Nurses who have just graduated and are facing the real-life challenges of their first shifts often are left "without the parachute" of a classroom environment, said Denise Ogletree McGuinn, RN, APN, who is one of the mentors and the director of the program. "It’s a critical time," she said. "They need someone who can take them by the hand and tell them what they’re feeling is normal."

Networking can be difficult, especially in Nevada where vast open spaces separate large population centers. Nurses with questions about a particular specialty may have to travel a long way to mingle with someone in their field.

For experienced nurses it’s a chance to remember why they chose nursing in the first place and an opportunity to "rediscover our joy," McGuinn said. For struggling nurses, she said having someone to turn to who is not a boss or co-worker can be "like a hot bowl of macaroni and cheese."

By early September, 10 matches had been made and five mentors were awaiting mentees. McGuinn said they are hoping for at least 250 matches in the next month.

The hope of the program is not only to help nurses through the early years, but also to get them engaged in their profession and ready to help the people who come after them. "These are our leaders of tomorrow," McGuinn said.

Nurses interested in participating should sign up by early October. Mentors and mentees can sign up at www.NVnurses.org by clicking on "NNA announces New Graduate Mentoring Project" under announcements.


Marcia Frellick is a freelance writer. Send letters to editorWest@nurse.com or post a comment below.