Mentorship Program

The Nurse Mentorship Program at Stanford Health Care (SHC) was developed by Nurse Managers in 2004. The program was designed to help new graduate nurses (Nurse Residents) succeed in their first nursing positions, which they are statistically more inclined to leave within their first year of employment.

Seasoned nurses know that integrating nursing theory into practice takes time, and that the process is facilitated when Nurse Residents have the opportunity to learn from established nurses with whom they have a clearly defined mentor/mentee relationship. Additionally, Nurse Residents benefit from working with someone who can help "fast track" their understanding of the culture at SHC.

Based on its initial success, the program has evolved since its founding, and now matches Nurse Residents, staff nurses new to SHC, or nurses moving to a new position within SHC, with mentors. Mentors are carefully selected SHC nurses. Participation in the program is voluntary. Evaluation of the program by mentees has indicated a high level of satisfaction with the program.

The goals of the program are to promote a culture of mentorship, professional development, and teamwork, while retaining the high quality nurses SHC hires and thereby decreasing costs associated with recruitment and orientation.

Program objectives include:

  • Develop supportive and encouraging relationships
  • Guide nurses in their professional, personal, and interpersonal growth
  • Promote mutuality and sharing based on the needs of colleagues
  • Communicate information concerning expectations, learning opportunities and stressors
  • Promotes understanding factors that help nurses integrate theory into practice
  • Act as a resource to facilitate personal and professional developments of others
  • Promote an understanding of maintaining professional boundaries that support inter-professional care
  • Socialization

If you are interested in being matched with a mentor, please speak with your Patient Care Manager.

Mentor criteria and selection

A mentor is a seasoned professional who has advanced job-related experience, knowledge of the organization, a positive attitude, and excellent communication skills. The selection process includes evaluating the potential mentor's ability to meet the following expectations:

  • Support the mission and values of the Stanford Health Care (SHC).
  • Participate in achieving SHC, Nursing, and Unit Goals.
  • Serve as a role model using Role-Based Practice.
  • Act as a resource and facilitating the SHC Nursing Professional Practice Model.
  • Demonstrate Clinical competency.
  • Provide constructive feedback.
  • Demonstrate professionalism.
  • Demonstrate positive communication, patience, tact in interactions,
  • Evidence of continuing education in the areas of communication, conflict management, teaching/learning, coaching, goal setting, and/or giving feedback.

Nurses who are interested in the mentor role should meet with their patient care manager to review criteria and establish a plan for mentoring. After this meeting, the applicant should submit an application to the nurse manager for review.

"Being mentored really put me right into being on a unit after my new grad program here at Stanford. There was a formal educational process which was really helpful - papers to read and discuss, things to think about as a went about the real work of being a nurse. I also met my mentor off-site, at coffee shops and was able to get valuable knowledge and support in a calm place where we could really focus on the conversation. The mentoring really helped me get into the routine of the unit very quickly & feel comfortable."
    -Chelsea Simkins, Mentee

"My experience was that it was nice to have someone that was a go to person that I could confide in. Mary is someone I felt safe talking to regarding nursing judgment, various emotions, and how to react to certain emotional situations. My first couple of months here I got really close to a patient that ended up passing and Mary helped me to navigate through my emotions as this was my first experience with death and dying of someone that I cared for. The mentor/mentee relationship is a special relationship. Mary understands where I am coming from and I don't feel discounted or judged when talking to her. She really listens to my thoughts and concerns. Having a mentor sets you up for having that kind of relationship, someone that feels safe in giving constructive feedback, guidance, and helps you to achieve your goals.

I think having a number one fan, someone that is a proponent for you, really helped. She helped with my nursing assignment so I could focus on specific things about my patient. She helped me identify areas that I needed to improve upon. She is my back bone, she helps me get involved with nursing committees, conferences, etc. She is a good role model and is encouraging me to think about PNDP as well as helping me to grow professionally as a nurse.

Having someone set up as a mentor creates a "safe" person to go to when I am having bad as well as good days. I have been here for one and a half years. Today was my first day as a Resource Nurse and she has been checking in throughout the day to see if I need help or if I have questions. That made my day not as scary."
    -Molly Sauer, Mentee

"I loved being a mentor. The process had me re-experience my own practice and brought back memories of my first few years in nursing. I have precepted many times before but mentoring is different, you have an ongoing relationship with this nurse as you introduce her to your unit, your specialties and the nursing community there. It is also nice to be chosen as a mentor as the person you mentor sees skills in you that they want to master. It is a great relationship building opportunity for the unit as a whole."
    -S Salem Paschal, Mentor

"I love the feel of a new grad in the infusion treatment area as they are excited about nursing and many of them have a passion for oncology patients, especially Molly. It makes me excited to be a part of shaping her career and helping her to facilitate her goals. We usually don't get a lot of new grads up here as it is really a tough unit to begin a career. I helped to support her through the death and dying process which is tough for someone who is just starting out a career in oncology. I helped her find the positives in those emotionally tough situations.

It impacted my practice as it reminds me that I need more patience. It made me reflect back on the nurses that I respected and why I respected and admired them. I try to emulate those behaviors that I admired so much and role model those behaviors as well."
    -Mary Salom, Mentor