Informal Mentorship and Peer Support in Nursing Practice
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
Do you find yourself pulled toward sharing your knowledge and experience with others? Do you enjoy learning with, and from, those around you? In nursing, informal mentorship happens on the fly, moment-to-moment, each shift. We often find peers sharing our passion for quality improvement and patient safety who encourage our ideas, while also bringing along new ones to consider.
Pause for a moment and reflect on a time when you observed a nursing peer balance, lead, and inspire. What did you notice about their process? How did their actions motivate you? Regardless of one’s background and experience, and because of one’s background and experience, we all have so much to bring to our practice each day. Inspired nurses bring vitality and optimism to their work. Sometimes, in nursing, we need to get creative. We are challenged with the seemingly impossible and then come out on the other side preparing to use our innovative talents again. Together, we face obstacles that require great mental and physical effort. Next time you practice alongside your peers—novice, seasoned, or otherwise—consider how your/their communication, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills are used to benefit the collective.
Helping one another to learn, grow, and rise, impacts the course of our profession as we support each other to make confident, well-informed decisions and continue with lifelong learning and professional development. Our reach in nursing is vast, and we carry great influence with the ability to motivate others. Nursing leadership is needed at every level, across all settings.
Guidance and collaboration are witnessed in endless forums. For example, we recently read a really encouraging blog post written by a fellow nurse writer, which shared his insight and enthusiasm. He certainly has a way with words, which made it all the easier to feel his excitement for what he does and his process, but even if that weren’t so strongly the case, communicating with and seeking to motivate others is transformational.
Co-creating the future of our profession with an emphasis on community requires bringing along humility. With humility we remain humble. Informal mentorship calls us to share not only our ideas with others, but also how we came to those ideas. Establishing credibility as a solid resource on the team lends way to consistently joining forces to drive results together. Sometimes, ideas begin as barely formed thoughts, and that’s okay. Let’s create safe spaces where new ideas can be nurtured, together.