Nurse Mentoring Program Ensures High Quality Patient Care
31, 2000 -- From
birth to bereavement, nurses provide the care that connects medical
treatment with patients' daily lives. Often working at top speed
for 10- or 12-hour shifts, they make crucial decisions and handle
emotional situations. The University of Virginia Health System brings
nurses up to that high performance level through a mentoring program
that teaches them how to apply their skills on the job.
mentoring program helps new nurses make the transition from classroom
to the bedside. This allows them to have responsibilities but be
in the protected situation of working alongside their mentor," said
Marlene Bond, R.N., chief clinical officer and associate vice president
of nursing. The seniority scale of nursing at the U.Va. Health System
ranges from new nurses at the Clinical 1 level to senior nurses
at the Clinical 4 and 5 levels, who are expert clinicians. The latter
conduct research studies, teach at the School of Nursing and work
in the community. Nurses are mentors at the Clinical 2 and 3 levels,
which gives them experience for teaching later.
exchange for the training, nurses who complete the program agree
to work for the U.Va. Health System for 18 months. Brooke Buckley,
R.N., is now beginning that phase after completing the mentoring
program last December. Buckley, a native of Staunton, decided to
switch from training corporate computer programmers on new software
to becoming a nurse. She graduated from the U.Va. School of Nursing
last year and will start her U.Va. master's degree in nursing next
fall, while working at the U.Va. Medical Center full-time.
is about people. It's an honorable field to work in," she said.
Buckley received mentoring on the medical cardiology unit and has
continued working there. "Cardiology is really tough, and I've learned
a lot. We have patients with heart attacks, patients waiting for
transplants, patients with arrhythmias. The program allowed me to
work in the cardiac catheterization lab, the electrophysiology lab
and cardiac rehabilitation unit as well. We also received intensive
training on procedures and giving medications."
goal is to keep working in cardiology and focus on geriatrics. "The
aging population in this country is requiring more nursing knowledge
and skills. Patients are living longer and when they come to the
hospital, they are sicker but stay for a shorter time." "U.Va. is
sensitive to the fact that complexity of care has changed. New graduates
from schools of nursing need more support and development to prepare
them for the challenges of providing professional care," Bond said.