Peer Mentoring

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Melanie Chichester, BSN, RNC
Labor & Delivery, Christiana Care Health System, Newark, DE
Meriam Dennie, MS, RNC, CEN, SANE-A
STAR unit, Christiana Care Health Services, Newark, DE

Learning Objective 1: Describe a peer-peer mentoring relationship

Learning Objective 2: Name two benefits of peer mentoring

A mentoring relationship is usually envisioned as an educator-student, manager-staff, or simply experienced staff-novice relationship. A different approach to a mentorship could be experienced-experienced, but from different disciplines, so each can teach and support the other in professional advancement. (Ludwig & Stein, 2008).

The clinical ladder at Christiana Care has created a network of experienced nurses. Through this network, Meriam and I met and formed a mutual mentoring relationship, between a flight nurse and a labor nurse. We nurture each other professionally: we are share unique knowledge and draw on each others' experiences (Persaud, 2008). Meriam has given me the opportunity to grow through peer education. Each year for 4 years, I have provided education for the flight nurses/paramedics in their care of pregnant women. In return, she gains knowledge, enhancing her expertise. We also developed/submitted abstracts for presentation together, as well as critiqued each others’ papers for school or publication. Additionally, we share our personal triumphs and mourn tragedies.

According to Dyer, "nursing mentors are less frequently sought by the experienced nurse, although the evidence shows positive results and growth for mentored nurses at all levels of practice. Most authors and nurses agree a nurse mentor has greater nursing experience than the mentee does; however, literature does not give clear guidelines for how much experience is required: years of practice, education, or age of the mentoring nurse (Dyer, 2008). Perhaps experienced nurses need mentors to help them develop new roles and interests, to keep their professional career and interests fresh. Each of us has experience in our own specialty, yet "interdisciplinary educational experiences can more adequately prepare…all disciplines for working within a healthcare team" (Tillett, 2007), and mentoring can cross boundaries of specialty and generation (Latham, Hogan, & Ringl, 2008), increasing satisfaction and retention.