How to Mentor New Health Grads

Michele Warg
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As students graduate from bachelor's and master's degree programs, they hold the future of healthcare in their hands. Unfortunately, even the best educational programs cannot prepare graduates for every possible challenge. That is why all healthcare professions benefit from the work of those who take the time to mentor new health grads. If you are an experienced healthcare professional, consider volunteering your time to help a recent graduate adjust to the challenges of the many healthcare professions.


Students can pursue a number of degrees in healthcare, from a doctoral degree in medicine to a bachelor's degree in nursing. These healthcare degrees usually involve some classroom work and some clinical practice, giving students the skills and knowledge they need to enter their chosen healthcare professions. But even the top programs cannot prepare students for every situation they might encounter. This is where experienced professionals can make a real difference to new grads and the patients they serve.


Mentors encourage new workers to enhance their skills and experience personal and professional growth. One common misconception about mentoring is that mentors are required to take responsibility for the actions of those they mentor. This is not true, as mentors simply provide support and guidance for students entering a variety of healthcare professions. You should not be responsible for evaluating employees or providing feedback that will be used to make decisions about promotions, salary increases, or disciplinary actions. In fact, a successful healthcare mentor has no personal or professional link to the new graduate's supervisor.


Students with degrees in healthcare may have a broad knowledge base, but they often need some help navigating the challenges of working in a hospital. As a mentor, you should listen to the graduate's concerns and help with goal setting and communication issues. This is when your experience in one of the healthcare professions will have a direct benefit on the graduate's experience as a new hospital employee. You may even have the opportunity to mentor surgeons as they attempt tricky surgical procedures. If you are assigned a mentee by your employer, the relationship may last anywhere from a few months to a year. Some mentor-mentee relationships grow into rewarding professional relationships, but that is not always the case.


People who choose healthcare professions have a unique set of challenges when compared to graduates in other fields. As a mentor, you must be willing to listen to your mentee's problems and make an effort to gain his or her trust. Volunteering as a mentor is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to the healthcare professions even if you have retired or moved on to a job in another industry. Your willingness to help new graduates also benefits patients, as they will receive better care as a result of your work with new graduates. You may even be surprised to find that you get personal and professional satisfaction from offering your knowledge of the healthcare professions to recent graduates.


(Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic / 


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    @Dottie - Finding a mentor can be difficult and might require a lot of research. Still, it can help your career in so many ways. Good luck finding the right match!!
  • Dottie F
    Dottie F
    I could use some of that mentoring as a NEW phlebotomist.  would love it.
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