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Helene Fuld College of Nursing brings mentors, students together

Monday April 8, 2013
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HARLEM — The Helene Fuld College of Nursing kicked off its new mentorship program with an orientation luncheon for mentors and students March 6 at its Harlem location.

Mentorship program committee co-chairwoman and program coordinator Karla Fallon, MA, EdM, PhD, LMHC, and Ruth Brown, RN, also a committee co-chairwoman and vice president of the college’s board of trustees, explained that the program was modeled after a part of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses’ Mentorship Academy.

Guest speakers at the event included NAHN members Vivian Torres-Suarez, RN, BSN, MBA, who created the academy as part of her work as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation fellow, and Aida Egues, RN, DNP, APHN-BC, PHNS-BC, CNE, a Mentorship Academy member.

Egues, an assistant professor of nursing at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn and Pace University in Manhattan, served as the luncheon’s keynote speaker. She told attendees that as a student and second-career nurse, she could not find a mentor to help her navigate through her studies. Her experience prompted her to choose a career as an educator, she said.

“I became a professor of nursing so I wouldn’t forget what it’s like to be a student,” she said.

A few of the nurses Egues mentored were on hand to share their experiences. All of them expressed their gratitude for having someone who was willing to help them and who continued to provide guidance well into their professional careers.

Recent graduate Amy Soto, RN, spoke of how important her relationship with Egues was to her while in school, and continues to be now that she is about to embark on a career in nursing. Soto said she often doubted her ability when classes became more challenging and is grateful Egues was there for support.
“Even when I kept telling her I couldn’t do it because it was too hard, she would tell me to snap out of it,” Soto laughed. “And I would!”

Those interested in becoming mentors gave short presentations about their backgrounds to students and explained why they would make good mentors.

Although they were in different specialties and stages in their careers, all the mentors expressed how important it was to them to give back. After hearing the presenters, students wrote down the names of three mentors with whom they wished to be paired.

Once paired, proteges and their chosen mentors completed a contract that outlined their goals and expectations. In all, seven mentors and 11 protegees are participating in the inaugural class, Fallon said.

Torres-Suarez congratulated the program’s participants. “The opportunity to mentor proteges is a gift,” she said. “It’s the development of a relationship.”

Tracey Boyd is a regional reporter.


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