For my blog role question my learning partner and I choose Mentoring.
My partner did mentoring in trades, these are jobs in carpentry, plumbing, construction to name a few, and found out that women make up only 10% of this profession. There is mentoring for a woman in trades, but it is limited. The B.C government is allocating four million dollars this year, to train women in trades. The main differences between men and women in trades are wages and mentoring.The trades continue to be a male dominated profession and women continue to fight for equal opportunities, mentoring women in the trades would promote women in the trade world.
I researched mentoring in nursing. Found that nursing is a female dominated profession that has a history of “eating their young”, a process where seasoned nurses will not assist new graduate nurses with their work, even when the new graduate nurse requests help. Nursing is a self-regulated profession, where there is a moral and ethical obligation to provide mentoring, but finding seasoned nurses that are willing and able to provide this valuable service without monetary gain, proves to be a challenge.
As instructors we have the responsibility to set the stage for any learning activity, setting the stage involves having the confidence, knowledge, skill, judgment and attitude to present any subject in a way that makes learners want to participate. What a challenge! At any time, an effective instructor will be able to keep learners attention by making learners become an active part of the learning instead of just presenting material on a subject. There are times when an instructor will need be a mentor, guide, coach, trainer, tutor or an advisor, as instructors channel learners through the learning process. Gone are the days of an instructor standing at the front of the classroom for an hour presenting a subject, handing out an assignment, then walking out the door leaving the learners to interpret the information on their own.
Currently in nursing, the noted trends are in mentoring, hiring and retention of nurses. There was a hiring and education freeze of nurses in the 1990s, now there is an increase in the number of nurses expected to be coming out of the classroom. (Picard, 2010, p. 3)
With the advancing new technology in the relief of pain, diagnosis and monitoring of conditions, it is impossible to teach everything in the classroom. The trend is to have nursing students enroll in an employed student-nurse program after they have completed the third year of education. This provides the nursing student a chance to gain experience by working with a seasoned nurse, as well as an opportunity for the seasoned nurse to share her knowledge and experience. Mentoring is a moral and ethical responsibility of a self-regulated professional, when new nurses are mentored it has been proven that the patients and profession both benefit, as the patient receives care from a “competent, confident, insightful nurse who is able to utilize critical thinking skills and provide high quality care.” (2013, ¶ 13) A mentor is described as an individual being, of noble character, intelligent, caring, experienced at their job, trust worthy, dedicated to learning, and have a positive outlook. A mentor has to be able to provide an organized learning experience, constructive feedback, set and monitor objectives, identify concerns and assess skills, attitudes and behaviors.(()) These traits are similar to those of an educator.
Flexibility of scheduling is another trend of the new generation of nurses, as they place emphasis on quality of life, meaning that they are not completely career driven, as the past generation was (the baby boomers), this generation is finding balance between family, work and personal life. There is not the competition for jobs as there was in the 90’s, new graduate nurses are expecting and receiving full time positions directly out of school; this was a dream for those who took nursing programs 20 or 30 years ago.
With the retirement age increased to over the age of 65 nurses are working longer in their chosen profession, many until age 70. For the first time there are multi generations working all at the same time. This brings both challenges and opportunities as it offers the chance for seasoned nurses to mentor and support the new graduate nurse. The challenge is getting seasoned nurses to become mentors, even though it is the moral and ethical obligation of nurses’ to mentor, there is no monetary gain so this is a deterrent for many busy nurses. Mentoring should be encouraged by employers, mentoring that is provided by an experienced employee has been documented to increase staff retention, job satisfaction, and the continuation of the philosophy of making nursing the caring profession.
Web conferencing with my learning partner has had a few twists and turns. My first learning partner unexpectedly had to leave the program, so I received a new learning partner quickly, but this left challenges as I was hoping to be done and my new learning partner was just starting. There were a few technical problems the first time we used Skype, we were unable to hear each other so we spoke on the phone while looking at each other. Then the second time we were able to get everything working but the internet was slow at times so there were delays in our conversations but we were able to pick a question and set up another meeting time.
We had a date and time set to teach each other what we had learned, when there was a large storm moving into my area, as I live in the country, I am unable to start my computer during a storm and we frequently lose power so, again there was a delay. My learning partner understood and we were able to Skype an hour later.
What I have learned the most from this experience is that we must be flexible. My learning partner and I exchanged cell phone numbers so were able to text each other, having another way to communicate from a distance is certainly a huge advantage. Having to meet someone for the first time over Skype introduce yourself and learn from each other was to me frightening. I have learned that even when you come from a very different area of the province, I am in the country and my learning partner comes from a busy city, when you both have the same goals and are open to suggestions from each other you can make this work and I feel that I have gained a friend.