Friday, November 11, 2016

Nurse Mentors

Last week, I talked about nurses eating their young, and my own experience with someone who tried to destroy my confidence as a nurse. If you didn't get a chance to read it, here is the story.

She'd gotten offended because I mentioned that I was an RN. Now, I didn't really study very much about the different types of nurses. All I knew was that a nurse was a nurse. For the NCLEX, I had to study questions where they gave a scenario with four different patients and ask which one was appropriate for an RN, which was appropriate for an LPN, and so on. But I don't think it really registered.

I've heard RNs make comments about LPNs. In fact, when I was having a difficult time with a co-worker, another co-worker asked me, "Did you tell her that you're the RN and to shut up?"

Here's the thing. I really respect LPNs. In fact, there are two LPNs in particular that became some of my closest friends, and that influenced the kind of nurse I became. The first LPN was this wonderful woman named Ellen. She and I were as polar opposite as could be. She was tall and boisterous and loved to get people riled up. I was quiet, shy, and barely spoke to anyone if I didn't have to. We worked together at my first job, and she took me under her wing. She showed me how to deal with difficult patients, with co-workers, and even with management. She always took the opportunity to teach -- in her own unique way. I was never afraid to ask her opinion, and I never got offended if she gave it, because we learned to work together as a team. Never once did I stop to think about her credentials. She was just my co-worker and we made sure that things worked smoothly.

When I moved to Idaho, I had another wonderful co-worker named Joanne. She worked nights with me, and we both seemed to think and function in very similar ways. We both walked fast, worked faster and always did a little extra so that things would get done the right way. She's the one who taught me how to navigate bigger facilities, and to become an effective leader, especially when it came to working with multiple CNAs. She helped me gain confidence in new skills that I hadn't used in my previous jobs, and I loved working with her because everything always ran so smoothly. Even in a disaster, there wasn't anything we couldn't work through.

Those two wonderful women were my mentors. I didn't care that they were LPNs. They were nurses, and they knew what they were doing. Instead of getting frustrated, they took the time to teach, and those opportunities helped me to develop my own style and talents as a nurse.

How about the rest of you? Any mentors you'd like to recognize?