Nurses are well known for their empathy, adaptability, and passion for their careers. While nursing offers generous benefits and compensation, the real reward for many nurses is the chance to help others.
For even the most committed nurses, however, the field also presents numerous challenges. Learning new protocols at the drop of a nurse’s cap, working harmoniously with colleagues and patients, and meeting shifting care expectations are all par for the course whether in a permanent nursing position or on a travel assignment. That’s on top of the emotional challenges that arise from working in fast-paced environments—which even the most stoic of nurses aren’t immune to.
These issues can be furthered compounded for travel nurses who have to adjust to new places and teams as they provide care. This is where a consistent, reliable mentor can act as an invaluable pillar to lean on for support during your career—whether you lay roots in a beloved community or are determined to see the world as a travel nurse.
What Is a Nurse Mentor?
A nurse mentor is a senior healthcare practitioner who volunteers their time and expertise to help individuals who are new to nursing learn the ropes. They help nurses gain confidence in their roles, remain motivated, and receive the counsel they need to excel in their careers.1
Mentor-mentee relationships don’t necessarily need to be facilitated by any official programs. They can be simple, casual partnerships without guidelines, prerequisites, or frequent, formal meetings. Indeed, mentorship is more about the value of the bonds formed, rather than their perceived professionalism.
Why Is Mentorship Important?
Nearly anyone can improve their personal and professional abilities by working with a skilled mentor—regardless of their chosen career path. For nurses, however, a seasoned mentor can help them work through the specific challenges and pressures that arise from such a demanding career.
A nurse mentor can offer consistent, reliable support as you build your nursing career through:2
- Coping strategies for dealing with a difficult boss or staff member and advice on conflict resolution in nursing.
- An experiential nursing education, success stories, and inspiration.
- Indispensable tips on avoiding nurse burnout.
- Key advice for developing and honing new skills.
- Support for managing your environment and its unique culture.
- Counsel on maintaining a positive attitude in draining situations, and ways to persevere through the tough emotional labor that nursing often entails.
- Constructive feedback and answers to both immediate and long-term questions about the profession.
Perhaps most importantly, a nurse mentor can help nurses envision and plan for the trajectory of their careers. While it’s true that travel nurses often face the challenge of balancing their travel commitments and adapting to new environments, a mentor with valuable experience can provide invaluable guidance, helping them uncover the hidden potential within their careers. By embracing the support of a mentor, travel nurses gain the ability to envision their big picture goals and align their experiences to achieve them.
From practicing accountability and setting SMART goals in nursing to suggestions for professional development, a nurse mentor can offer informed advice on how to maximize career satisfaction.
How Do You Find a Nurse Mentor?
Finding a nurse mentor is more simple than you might think. Many healthcare facilities have dedicated nurse mentorship programs, while several organizations can help pair you with the right nurse mentors.3 These include:
- American Nursing Association (ANA)
- National Mentorship Partnership
- American Organization for Nursing Leadership
- Sigma Global Nursing Excellence
- American Association for Nurse Practitioners
As we touched upon above, other mentor-mentee relationships unfold organically—say, with a senior nurse practitioner you naturally hit it off with, or a nurse you shadow during clinical training.
But, whether the mentorship is formal or informal, keep in mind that the rewards you’ll reap from your nurse mentor comes down in part to the amount of effort you put into the relationship.
What Qualities Should You Look For In a Mentor?
There are a few specific qualities you should search for in a nurse mentor. These may include:
- Expertise, both as a whole and in the specific concentration you’re considering focusing on (such as Medical-Surgical or ICU nursing
- Availability and reliability
- An encouraging, caring personality
- The ability, and desire, to listen
Above all, effective nursing mentorship often comes down to chemistry. Our advice? Search for someone who challenges, comforts, and guides you all at the same time.
Nurse Mentorship for Travel Nurses
Finding a solid mentor is beneficial across the board in nursing careers. But it may be especially important for those interested in travel nursing.
Travel nurses frequently have to deal with new conditions, clinical practices, colleagues, and challenges. While these experiences build character and expertise, they may also present difficult, unfamiliar hurdles. A knowledgeable mentor (especially one who’s dealt with the same situation) can help you navigate these difficulties and succeed in your career.
Throughout your assignments, a mentor can help you acclimate to new settings and relay sage-like advice on how to prevent burnout, especially during particularly challenging or demanding assignments. The best mentors can be trusted with almost any nursing and travel-related concerns, as they’ve often walked the same path you’re currently taking.
Level-Up Your Travel Nursing Career With Host Healthcare
Mentoring has helped countless nurses increase their job satisfaction, achieve an optimal work-life balance, and realize their full potential. And while mentoring is beneficial to all nurses, it can be particularly valuable for travel nurses who face new challenges—and joys—with each new assignment.
If you’re a travel nurse, or if you’re interested in becoming one, consider Host Healthcare one of your allies on your professional journey.
Host Healthcare’s dedicated team is here to advocate for you at every point in your travel nursing career. Our responsive, caring recruiters will work with you to ensure you find assignments that meet your desires. And, while you’re on assignment, you’ll have the unwavering support of our team of qualified RNs and 24/7 emergency helpline.
Plus, as you’re providing top-notch healthcare, you’ll receive the same in return with our robust benefits package that takes effect on day one.
Apply to Host Healthcare today to begin your travel nursing journey—your future in an exciting new environment awaits.
- “What Is a Nurse Mentor?” Regis College Online, 29 Oct. 2021, https://online.regiscollege.edu/blog/nurse-mentor/
- Joe Cote May 10, 2018, et al. “Mentorship in Nursing.” Southern New Hampshire University, https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/health/mentorship-in-nursing
- -“The Importance of Mentorship in Nursing.” NurseJournal, 15 Nov. 2022, https://nursejournal.org/resources/the-importance-of-mentorship-in-nursing/