“Effective Mentoring in the Clinical Setting” (Teaching for Practice, April) provided excellent information on mentoring new nurses. As an experienced nurse, I've seen new nurses struggle during their transition to the clinical setting. The biggest obstacle I've seen is the giving and receiving of feedback.
When nurses receive criticism, they often take it personally or as an attack on their competence. Incorporating a hospital-based education program on how to give and receive feedback for both mentors and mentees would assist mentors in their role.
In my practice, I tell my mentees how they will be evaluated. When new nurses know what to expect, they're more confident. When seeing signs that mentees are not processing feedback, or are taking it personally, it does wonders to remind them that they aren't expected to know everything—this is why they're assigned a mentor or preceptor.
By addressing each party in a hospital-based education setting before beginning the mentor–mentee relationship, new nurses would be better prepared to begin their transition into the profession.
Kourtney L. Beale, RN