Can Travel RNs Have Nurse Mentors? 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

Trying to manage and progress in your career can sometimes leave you feeling confused and uncertain. If only you had the wisdom to make the decisions you need to make and to deal well with ambiguous situations. But that may require more experience than you currently have.

Don’t lose heart if you feel lacking in this regard. We all need access to yet-untapped wisdom and experience before we can develop into the kind of people we want to be. Fortunately, we can begin to have our questions answered and apply unearned wisdom with the help of a mentor, someone who has already traversed the path we are exploring and understands the territory.

Having a mentor is doubly important for the travel nurse, who must regularly navigate unfamiliar landscapes. We’ll explain the help you can expect from different kinds of travel nurse mentors as well as how to obtain one that is most helpful for you in this stage of your career.


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Can Travel RNs Have Nurse Mentors?

Continually dealing with variability makes having a mentor especially beneficial for travel nurses. Whether you are adjusting to work in a new facility, life in a new state or city, or trying out a new specialty, there will be aspects of each assignment that are unpredictable. 

If you have someone to turn to for wisdom in these situations, it can help allay anxiety and make you feel more confident about approaching your goals and work tasks. A mentor can assist you in many ways:

  • Encouraging you to seek challenging assignments and responsibilities
  • Counseling you about fulfilling your commitments
  • Answering your questions and concerns
  • Giving you specific feedback and advice about handling difficult decisions
  • Discussing your long-range career plans
  • Discussing clinical decisions you make
  • Modeling and teaching you how to progressively increase your independence

Trusted Nurse Staffing encourages our clients to take advantage of the support travel nurse mentors provide. Try out our job search tool to find specific assignments that appeal to you, and discuss your prospects for the available positions with your mentor.


can travel rns have nurse mentors


What Is a Travel Nurse Mentor?

A travel nurse mentor helps the mentee (the travel nurse) learn the ropes of their new position and new environment. This help might come, for example, in the form of guidance in navigating the culture of a new facility or in learning how processes are handled.

The role of a mentor can be informal or formal with varying levels of support, from minimal to extensive. More extensive support might include:

  • Coaching: Having a coach through difficult situations who can enlighten you about the effects of actions and decisions you did not foresee can help you refine your problem-solving skills.
  • Teaching: Learning as much as you can from your mentor about the work you are doing can make your career more satisfying because it will help you to see the broader picture and the power of your role within it.
  • Role modeling: Having someone you look up to encourages you to excel in the ways you see them excelling, aiming to develop in yourself the strengths you see in them. 
  • Counseling: A mentor can inform you of career development opportunities you are unaware of and provide ongoing support and direction for your personal goals.
  • Advocating: A mentor who knows you, your work habits, and your skills well might be able to vouch for you to others who can give you further opportunities for gaining experience. 
  • Networking: Having a mentor can help you expand your professional network because you’ll be in close contact with someone who already has theirs well-established.

Important qualities of a good mentor are relatability and approachability. Find someone you can approach easily and whose experience is relevant to your career goals


can travel rns have nurse mentors


Who Can Be a Travel Nurse’s Mentor?

It is typically a more experienced nurse who helps you learn a new position, develop in the role, and become successful. They act as guides or facilitators of learning. It can be a temporary relationship or last for many years.

A good nurse mentor should have the following qualities:

  • Effective communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills 
  • Accessibility and willingness to support and educate
  • Positivity, trustworthiness, and respectability
  • Empathy for the developing nurse
  • Experience in the specialty, facility, or career path you are considering
  • Deep understanding of nursing principles
  • A commitment to lifelong learning

The most important factor that ensures positivity in the mentor/mentee relationship is mutual respect and trust. Both mentor and mentee should thoroughly understand the purpose and expectations of their interaction.

The mentor/mentee connection isn’t just a one-way relationship. The mentor can benefit in many ways from interacting with the mentee. Here are a few:

  • It can re-enliven a passion for nursing.
  • It’s an opportunity to invest in the next generation of nurses. Doing one’s part to ensure a tradition of excellent work — or even just to help one person excel in their career — is very rewarding.
  • Teaching and counseling others helps the mentor hone their communication skills as they see what styles of speaking and methods of explanation are misleading, ineffective, or confusing.
  • Working closely with a younger nurse can expose the mentor to a fresh perspective on current nursing trends. Learning about generational differences is valuable because it helps the nurse approach patients more sensitively.
  • It contributes to a positive work culture, in which everyone can learn from each other. No member is undervalued.


4 Types of Nurse Mentors for Travel RNs


#1: Formal Mentors

Most travel nursing assignments begin with an orientation, during which the facility might formally assign you a nurse mentor. This person’s job is to welcome you, give you a tour, guide you in customary protocols unique to the facility, answer questions, teach you the culture, and more. 

One type of formal mentor is a nurse preceptor, an experienced nurse who supervises nursing students during clinical rotations, helping them transition from theory to practice. 

A formal mentorship typically has a defined end date, so keep this in mind if you’re hoping for a more long-term relationship.


#2: Informal Mentors

Even if you are not assigned a mentor, over the course of your assignment you might naturally build a relationship with someone who becomes your unofficial, or informal, mentor.

This person is often approachable, patient, and personable, someone you gravitate toward because they readily answer questions, share advice, and encourage you to succeed.


#3: Experienced Travel Nurse Mentors

A travel nurse agency can often connect you with an experienced traveler who can be your guide and mentor. This may be someone in the facility or city you are going to, someone who has worked there before, or any experienced travel nurse with valuable experience they are willing to share.

If your recruiter does not offer to set you up with an experienced travel nurse mentor, ask to be connected with one and they can usually oblige you.


#4: Professional Nurse Mentors In Another Location

A mentoring program is a common way for nurses with less experience to find a nurse mentor. You can choose a mentor who belongs to your specialty by utilizing a professional networking site such as the American Nurses Association (ANA) or the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN).


can travel rns have nurse mentors


How To Find the Right Nurse Mentor

Finding a nurse mentor can seem difficult for travel nurses because their assignments are relatively short, but several options are available to you. 

Consider where you are in your career while weighing these options. If you are a travel nurse, a mentor can be especially helpful because the logistical details of your assignments may be overwhelmingly distracting, such that it is harder for you to focus on learning and excelling in your job.

Trusted Nurse Staff handles all these logistical details for you to minimize your stress and help you dedicate more time and focus to the job at hand.


Know What You’re Looking For

Think about the different types of relationships between mentor and mentee and figure out what you hope to receive from a mentor. Whether you need someone to help you devise your career path, a hands-on partner in your facility, or someone who can help you with networking, define your need before beginning your search.


Conduct a Self-Assessment

Think carefully to assess your strengths and weaknesses, your goals, and potential areas for personal improvement. Find out what skills you lack and what perspectives you don’t understand. Consider having an evaluation to pinpoint these variables in your character. This way it will be easier to define your need and find a mentor more specifically suited to guiding you, ideally someone who has skills and experience you don’t have.


Identify Potential Mentor Candidates

Once you know what you are looking for in a mentor, consider who might be most appropriate for the role. Your mentor search can begin in a handful of places:

  • Your nursing agency
  • A former professor or student from nursing school
  • A family member
  • A member of the senior leadership of the facility you work in
  • Someone outside of nursing who is willing to be a sounding board and guide

It is not required that your mentor be older or more experienced than you. Even a nurse who has progressed no farther than you in nursing will have unique wisdom acquired from different experiences. 


can travel rns have nurse mentors


Trusted Staff Nursing: Helping Travel RNs Find Experienced Nurse Mentors

If you feel that having a mentor would be beneficial for your progress in the field of nursing, reach out to Trusted Nurse Staffing. We can help you establish a connection that you can rely on when your job leaves you baffled, weary, uncertain, or discouraged. Your mentor can also be a source of direction if you are not challenged enough and have ambitions to look beyond your current setting to gain experience.

Use Pronto, our job search tool, to find placements that meet the criteria of your choice. Then a recruiter at Trusted Nurse Staffing can work with you to guide you through every step of procuring a placement amenable to you. This includes locating a mentor to help optimize your performance as a nurse in the position you select.

Contact us today to learn more about how we serve aspiring travel nurses.


can travel rns have nurse mentors