July 26, 2019

Taking care of the next generation of nurses

NurseMentor program a unique way to connect back with the nursing faculty community

Eleanor and Megan have an easy connection. A third-year nursing student and primary care specialist introduced through the NurseMentor program, their mentorship thrived for a few reasons: They met regularly in person, they broke the ice with common outside interests and they were curious about what the other had to offer.

Ultimately, they saw the value in each other as people with a shared passion for nursing and an eagerness to learn from each other.

“Students are the future of the profession,” said Eleanor Benterud, MN'02, sitting across from Megan Paul in the nursing student foyer. “This is a way I can contribute to a new generation of nursing leaders. I see that in Megan.”

As an acute and primary care nurse with a wealth of experience that spans teaching, management and administration, Eleanor saw mentoring as an opportunity to celebrate her nursing experience. It was also a chance to form a connection with the next generation of nursing students.

“That was exciting for me. As nurses we’re always caregivers, but as a mentor, it is expanding my relationships.”

For Megan, who is approaching her final year and set to graduate in 2020, the idea of entering the industry has been overwhelming at times. Hearing about Eleanor’s experience and getting a taste of what that world is like has been a comfort for her.

“I feel like I can ask her anything.”

And she would advise other nursing students to seek a mentor and do the same. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid of jumping into the relationship and going for it.”

From Eleanor’s standpoint, when you share your nursing experience and nurture an aspiring RN the rewards are just as great.

“Everybody, as a nurse, has something they can offer a nursing student. Look at it as an opportunity to share your career, the highs and the lows.

“We need to take care of each other as nurses as well. Let’s care for each other as much as we care for our patients.”

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