July 11, 2018

Perfect pair comes together in pilot phase of NurseMentor program

Mentorship pair Emily Johnston (Term 8) & Jennifer Dorman BN’07 discover they had a lot in common
NurseMentor_Emily Johnston and Jennifer Dorman
NurseMentor_Emily Johnston and Jennifer Dorman

Sometimes luck can play a large role in the matching of a mentor/mentee relationship. Such is the case with newly-graduated BN student Emily Johnston and her NurseMentor match, Jennifer Dorman (BN’07), who were paired together for the pilot phase of the online program.

“I selected hospice/palliative care for my final practicum which is not always an area of nursing that is discussed in nursing school or an area that we have a rotation in,” says Emily. “When I told my mentor that I was completing my final focus at the Rotary Flames House, she told me that she had worked there! She was able to give me some valuable insight prior to starting my practicum.”

“It was a really memorable experience meeting for coffee just after my mentee started her final practicum,” agrees Jennifer, who says she can talk about hospice palliative care “until the cows come home.” 

Mentees and mentors are matched on NurseMentor based on an algorithm that aligns interests, goals and personality traits.  Personal information about specific workplace experience is not shared nor, indeed, requested.  It was therefore pure luck that Jennifer and Emily shared so much in common.

“My mentor having had experience in palliative care reinforced many times how special palliative care is and that having difficult conversations with families and being able to support them in whatever way possible is a nursing skill that is just as important as hands-on skills,” Emily adds. “It has been interesting hearing her stories and being able to relate and share mine from my final practicum as well.”

For Jennifer, who also has background as a hospice nurse educator, participating in the NurseMentor pilot was a wonderful reminder of the optimism of nursing students.

“Questioning why things are done because the student genuinely wants to know the answer is refreshing,” she says.  “It is not about why it can’t be done or how it is easier to not change.”

UCalgary Nursing’s online mentoring program connecting alumni RNs with student nurses for professional and personal growth. To find out more, visit nursing.ucalgary.ca/alumni/nursementor