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Staff-to-staff mentoring can lead to improved employee retention, morale building, ongoing career development and organizational learning. A good mentor can be likened to someone providing a road map for you to achieve your goals, and then letting you drive the car.
In some organizations, a formal mentorship program is in place. However, an informal culture of mentorship can be just as powerful. We’ve compiled three stories about co-workers mentoring each other in locations around the United States.
‘There Should Be Something More’
Three years ago, Heather Clementz, who started her healthcare career as a certified nursing assistant at Good Samaritan Society – Geneseo Village, Illinois, decided she needed a change. “I was married with two kids and working the second shift,” says Heather. “The hours weren’t the most convenient and I was paying a babysitter almost more than I was making.”
She knew there were things she was passionate about at work. “I knew there should be something more,” says Heather. “I wanted to do more, to help more, not just for me but for our residents, also.” So she approached Jodi Barnhart, health information manager at Geneseo Village, to ask for guidance in moving her career forward.
“I always admired Jodi. She’s one of those people that has an infectious positive attitude and is very passionate about her work and the residents.” —Heather Clementz, Good Samaritan Society employee
Since making the connection, Heather has become Jodi’s understudy in health information management. Jodi helped her to look into schools for medical insurance coding and provided hands-on training. “She keeps her fingers in everything,” says Jodi. “Heather comes in every Friday for three hours. She does the coding, the back-ups and anything else we need.”
Heather now has a clear goal in mind. “I really wouldn’t mind taking over for Jodi when she retires,” says Heather.
“She has expressed interest in my job when I retire someday,” says Jodi. “And that’s fine with me!”
‘Her Talents Are Now Fully Utilized’
Melisa Mendoza got her start working in the campus laundry at Good Samaritan Society – Manzano Del Sol Village, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Recently, an opening for a senior living administrative assistant became available. Melisa felt that getting this job would be a move forward in her career, so she applied.
Although external candidates had more formal experience in the realm of administrative support, Vera Schaffer, resident services director at Manzano Del Sol Village, was attracted to Melisa’s excellent customer service skills, strong work ethic and common sense.
“We interviewed lots of people for the senior living job, but she really was the right person for the position.” —Vera Schaffer, resident services director at Manzano Del Sol Village
Since joining the department, Vera and her team have taken Melisa under their wing to mentor her in all of the aspects of her new role.
“I feel that I have grown exponentially because of this opportunity,” says Melisa.
A Formal Mentoring Program for Nursing Directors
In some cases, a more formal mentorship is beneficial. Katie Davis, executive director at Good Samaritan Society – Albert Lea and Good Samaritan Society – Comforcare in Minnesota, utilizes a mentoring program in onboarding new directors of nursing.
“The first thing we do is take a look at the previous experience of the mentee,” says Katie. “Then we look at their goals as well as goals within our center.”
The next step is to put a strategic plan in place. The plan includes working with all of the departments so the new director of nursing can become familiarized with all facets of the center. A spiritual component is also included.
“We make sure we include the faith-based mission of the Society in our mentorship program,” says Katie. “That is central to what we do in this organization.” This strategy is designed to provide invaluable developmental support to a new hire. Through the use of the mentorship program, Katie has seen improved outcomes throughout the organization.
“We’ve seen this as a great booster for team building and morale Not to mention the learning aspect of it. Our directors of nursing get to see all of the departments in action, which provides them with a great perspective right away.” —Katie Davis, executive director, Good Samaritan Society in Albert Lea and Austin, Minnesota
In addition to the formalized director of nursing program, Albert Lea also offers student internships. This covers roles such as nursing, social services, medical records, administration, nutrition services and community relations.