I must say that up till recently, mentors in nursing have been very few if at all available, students are sent to the ward and in most cases don't find anyone to mentor them, the highest they get will be, engaging in routine works as they see done or trying something out which they have read about in textbooks.
THE NEED FOR MENTORS!
in the popular movie series GRAY'S ANATOMY we see how interns are mentored by a resident physician and are not just trained but also challenged to push further and learn, to research and discover.
Having been in the hospital for about 3 weeks, I have only found 2 mentors who are both orthopedic nurses. I must commend them because they did teach me a lot in their own ways though i must add at this point that though I had gone to the ward with very high expectations and I went home heavily disappointed. The reasons are not far fetched, a few of them from my understanding would be:
A few days ago I had a heated discussion with some of my mates from med lab science and I got to find out that they all seemed (everyone of them) to believe that nurses were categorically below them in terms of their chosen profession. When I sought to know why they thought this was so, they told me and i quote here: "nurses who should have been one of the respected in the healthcare team have sold their birthrights to other healthcare practisioners (You Know Who's)- where you could see a senior nurse running after "You Know Who's" and are not able to take a decision unless it is handed to them directly".
I tried so much to make them understand that that wasn't on a professional basis but in terms of personalities as no nurse is required both professionally and legally to become a another's "handbag".
2. Sheep followership:
Maybe in the past nurses have been trained this way and the training continuously passed on to the next generation but that is not what nursing is about.
A consultant today changed a patient's diagnosis from enteric fever to appendicitis, as a new student on the ward I only watched, when rounds ran over, I began taking history and there was no sign whatsoever suggesting appendicitis. Later I talked to a junior doctor on the diagnosis and he started to explain things to me as if I were a layman, but before he could get over with it I had corrected him once again, he then told me bluntly that I could go ahead and do my own assessment and .management if I wanted.
Finally, the patients scan came back with enteric fever.
No staff nurse was able to do what I had done, cus it seems that in most of our facilities once the doctor has written and so it stands.... We should remember that they are humans too, not demigods.
3. Educational level:
I already have a diploma and I'm in my final year already in university, yet the people who are supposed to be my teachers still are behind me, I can only learn so much from them, but even teach them.
4. Lack of exposure and inability to think outside the box:
A local champion thinks his locality his universe, I asked the charge nurse today if he could throw more light on an ECG result and he told me that wasn't a nursing responsibility and that even some doctors can't interpret it. Now if he simply said he didn't know, I could have understood and truly, not all doctors can interpret the ECG but to say it is not a nursing responsibility or that a nurse knowledge should be limited is a gainsay. He also claimed that nurses do not do invasive procedures, maybe he doesn't know that some nurses called APRN(advanced practice registered nurses) in advanced country are doing so much....now I know nursing is not all about fancy procedures, but the fancier, the more admired by the public. I explained to him all these.
5 Not growing up:
Bed making is a very nice nursing procedure but the world of nursing does not revolve around it, I am in my final year, just about to become a nurse scientist and all you want to teach me is bed making when I should actually be healing patients with the care plan, understanding nursing therapies, understanding and making nursing diagnosis, increasing my knowledge and perspective of nursing care. Some of those procedures should be revised as they are not very pragmatic, how many hospitals make the types of beds we made in nursing school.
6 Inability to lead by example:
I arrived at my facilities wards and found a few patients who haven't had a bath for days now, yet they are being pumped antibiotics for infection and most of them are old and immunocompromised, we complain about short staffing but when the staff to patient ratio is good, why does any nurse need to become lazy, we must do our duty and ensure that our patients get well, still, I am just waiting for a nursing conference to discuss all these.
Our mentorship style has to change, more to become like the orthopedic nurses I talked about, let us try to build students whom we can be proud of in future.
*when I become a nurse, hmmm, I can't say today, but a lot will be pushed away, deep into the abyss.*
Imeka Godwin Dip.- HC, RN, BNSc(candidate)
Imeka Godwin is one of the Nursingworld Nigeria regular contributors to our website. You can read some of his other articles on the CONTRIBUTORS PAGE
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