1. Marrelli, Tina M. MSN, MA, RN

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Many things in life are taken for granted-for that reason sometimes I think we need a day set aside to appreciate who we are, what we offer, and all the extra kindnesses that are provided to us under the heading of "nursing." Probably the most important factor in peoples success "in what they do" is who helps them along their career path. Mentoring is the word used to describe that process, and the people who are mentoring should be thanked often.

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As a nurse with many years of experience, I have several recommendations to give to anyone seeking to improve in his or her chosen profession-first, find a mentor. The next recommendation is to make sure that the person chosen as a mentor is a good "fit" and that the mentor and the mentoree are both growing from the relationship. A recent experience brought this back to me, in a significant way. A long time ago, back in the 1970s at Duke University, I had a great nursing professor who inspired me to be better and encouraged her students to always ask questions. She was, and still is, a strong advocate for practicing nurses to write and be published throughout their careers. Last month that same professor peer-reviewed a paper for Home Healthcare Nurse. As she nears retirement, now at another university, she continues to be someone I will always look to for wisdom and the right questions and answers.


As nursing and other healthcare professions received more press about the looming and long-term staffing shortages, mentors are more important than ever. We are all busy professionals-with careers, families, and other priorities, time is precious. But this is the time to offer those insights gained from years of experience to new nurses or others who seek to gain wisdom that only comes with knowing and being a nurse over time. Help the "mentee" identify goals, think about long-term wishes and dreams, and get through the day-to-day operational work "glitches" that happen all the time and in every organization.


This mentor role could be one of the most important in your life-look around and help those you can. Nurturing new talent and those clinicians new to their professions who bring enthusiasm and "new eyes" are needed more than ever. Together we may just tackle some of the biggest challenges out there and play an important part in their resolution. What is more important in our profession?


And, if you are new in home care or hospice, try to identify the role model in your organization-the person you would like to be in the coming years. Do not be shy; ask those with experience when you have questions or concerns. No one person has all of the answers, but the best mentors can help you reframe questions and perhaps answer the fundamental ones.


Tina M. Marrelli, MSN, MA, RN