A good mentor can help improve your nursing abilities and nursing career.

Male nurse studies paperwork on clipboard while female nurse looks on.

Did you know that the median annual salary for a registered nurse with a BSN is more than $32,000 less than that of a nurse who holds a master’s degree? While that is pretty good incentive to further your nursing education, the thought of earning an MSN can be overwhelming. The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone.

If you’re thinking about returning to nursing school to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), a mentor can help you through your nursing program and guide you into your nursing career.

What Is a Nurse Mentor?

A nurse mentor is a nurse who has more experience in a nursing field than you do and is willing to share their knowledge and time to help you achieve your goals. Mentoring can be done formally or informally. A formal mentoring relationship is arranged through your nursing school, a nurses’ association, or a hospital or another employer. In a formal mentoring relationship, you are paired with someone who has volunteered to be a mentor and the mentoring process is overseen by a supervisor or monitoring board. However, plenty of nurse mentoring is also done informally. In these arrangements, your nurse mentor may be a teacher, colleague, or supervisor who lends you a hand simply because they want to help you succeed.

What Makes a Good Mentor?

Not all people are suited to mentoring. The best mentors share certain character traits and skill sets that make them right for the task. These traits and skill sets include:

Positivity: Remaining upbeat and undiscouraged, especially in regard to the job of nursing.
Tolerance: Willing to accept all kinds of people.
Patience: Capable of maintaining calm and focus when dealing with difficult challenges.
Insight: Able to assess situations and provide useful solutions and/or advice.
Clarity: Able to clearly communicate information and advice.
Commitment: Possessing an earnest devotion to the job of nursing and the role of nurse mentor.

What Can a Mentor Do for You?

Whether you’re engaged in formal or informal mentoring, your mentor can help you in numerous ways. The top five ways a nurse mentor can benefit you include:

  • Providing guidance: Your mentor will know more about the nursing field you’re entering than you do. As such, they can give you insights and advice to help you avoid mistakes and find success.
  • Helping solve problems: If you’re struggling with a specific nursing task or are having difficulty balancing work, life, and school, your mentor can sit down with you—or chat with you over phone or text—and help you find a way through the challenges you’re facing.
  • Offering emotional support: Sometimes, all you need is someone to listen. A good mentor will be there for you when you’re feeling overwhelmed, confused, or otherwise out-of-sorts. Remember: They know what it’s like, so you’ll have a sympathetic ear.
  • Helping build your confidence: While mentors will certainly let you know if you’re making a mistake, they also let you know when you’re doing well. This positive affirmation can help you recognize your own talents and can validate that your progress is right on track, despite whatever struggles you’ve faced.
  • Guiding your career: Because your nurse mentor will know more about your nursing field, they will be able to help you steer your nursing career in the direction you want. In addition to career advice, mentors can also serve as great sources for networking, connecting you with other healthcare professionals and helping you find employment opportunities.

How Else Can You Advance Your Nursing Career?

In modern healthcare, many of the best nursing jobs—and highest nursing salaries—go to nurses who have continued their education and earned a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). An MSN degree is considered a prerequisite for being a nurse practitioner and it can be of great benefit to any nurse who wants to further their career.

If you currently hold a BSN, you might think earning a master’s degree in nursing would be too much hassle. However, online learning can provide the path you need. Unlike campus-based master’s in nursing programs, a master’s in nursing online program won’t require you to spend time driving to a campus. Instead, you can complete an online MSN program right from home. Better yet, many online nursing schools have flexible scheduling that allows you to complete your coursework at whatever time of day works best for your life.

So, which online education institutions offer the best Master of Science in Nursing programs? After weighing options, many students select Walden University. In fact, Walden is the leader in Master of Science in Nursing graduates. The university’s MSN program is CCNE accredited**, with an expert nursing faculty that’s 100% doctorally prepared. Plus, the Walden MSN program partners with over 300 leading healthcare employers and associations (ANPD, AMN Healthcare, Black Nurses Rock, etc.). Walden even offers an RN to MSN online program, allowing RNs to go straight from RN to MSN without first having to earn a bachelor’s degree.

When it comes to your nursing career, a mentor can be of great benefit. And finding a mentor can begin by earning an MSN degree from an excellent online university, like Walden.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Science in Nursing degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Registered Nurses, on the internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-5, and Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm#tab-5.

†Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Retrieved July 2017, using CIP code 51.3801 (Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse). Includes 2016 preliminary data.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.

**The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org). Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public's health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.

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