Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Celebrating a Nursing Mentor

Jody Porter, MBA, RN our wonderful Chief Nursing Officer, and I visited our Surgical Intensive Care Unit last Monday in the morning at change of shift. As I walked into the staff room, I was really surprised to see so many younger nurses. I remember not too long ago when we were worried that we would not have enough nurses to serve the baby boomers because many of our nurses were themselves, baby-boomers, and would be retiring soon.

Our nurses work very hard, and this is certainly true in the SICU. The job in the SICU requires a high-degree of professional competency. Among the many advantages of youth are: energy, enthusiasm, and a lack of being set-in-your-ways. After a few words of introduction about myself, the staff gave me a brief education about what was going on in the unit. I then asked them the question: "Is there anyone who is really helping you in your work that I should be thanking?"

Without a moment of hesitancy, one of the nurses said: "Justine! She is always there for us." The nurse was referring to Justine Kellar, RN, BSN, the nurse manager of the SICU and Unit 38. In the photo above, Justine is seated fourth from the right. The other nurses chimed in with many reasons why Justine deserved to be recognized and it was clear that she was more than just a boss to them. Justine Kellar is a great example of a mentor. The dictionary defines a mentor as an adviser and supporter: somebody, usually older and more experienced, who advises and guides a younger, less experienced person. The downside of youth is that lack of experience. Our younger SICU nurses are smart, well-trained, and caring and they need a mentor.....and they've got one!

Nursing is a marvelous vocation. It is all about serving others. It is a difficult, physically taxing profession, but it is a joyful profession. It is people like Justine Kellar, who in guiding younger nurses in their work, help to keep the joy alive! I am so grateful to Justine and all of our other nurse leaders. When you see one of our nurses, please thank him or her for all that they do for our patients and our hospital.

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