Case Management Mentor: Be One, Have One

Many people think that mentoring requires a huge time commitment and decades of experience. The truth is all that’s required is passion and a desire to help others. Being a mentor allows you to share your passion and expertise to guide others on their career path while leaving a legacy. This article will introduce you to a variety of approaches to mentoring, leaving you inspired and equipped to mentor in the way that best fits you.

Mentoring is more than orientation and preceptorship. These focus on processes and procedures and have their place within an organization, ensuring employees are trained to fulfill their job duties. But mentorship goes beyond policies, procedures, and the “job”. It focuses on the whole person, their “career” as well as work-life balance. 

Mentorship is built on the relationship between the mentor and mentee and has the potential to create leaders. The best mentors see untapped potential in a colleague and help to develop that potential. They will challenge them to go outside of their comfort zone while providing encouragement, support, and direction that guides the mentee to grow into their full potential. 

The most successful mentor-mentee relationships occur when there is a connection between the two individuals. Where the mentor truly cares about the success of the mentee and the mentee values the support of the mentor. This creates a sense of accountability to each other making it more likely for each individual to do their part. 

But mentoring does not have to be one on one. In fact, there does not even have to be a personal relationship. 

After speaking at a conference I was approached by a young lady who introduced herself as my mentee. To say I was shocked was an understatement. I had never met her before, but I had noticed she listened intently as I spoke. As we talked I began to understand how I had been her mentor. She had followed me on social media, read my book, and was a member of my online community. Even though I had never met her, she knew me, and I had made an impact on her and her career. 

A short while later there was a post in our Facebook group, Case Managers Community, a private group where case managers come to support each other. A woman posted that she had just accepted the position of director of case management for her organization. She was thanking the community, stating she would never have accepted the position without the support and encouragement she received from the group. 

They had given her advice and direction as a new case manager. They had encouraged her to accept the interim director role. During her time as the interim director, she had sought and received guidance from the group. And now she felt prepared to accept the position as director. This encouragement did not come from any one person, but from the supportive group as a whole. The group had mentored her. 

This made me think of some of my mentors. Although I had had many traditional mentors throughout my career, I realized I also had mentors I had never met. These were people who I looked up to, was inspired by, and had me think differently than I had before I “met” them. I realized they were my virtual mentors. And although I had never met them personally, they had a tremendous impact on my career and life.

A great example of this is when I began listening to podcasts. I was inspired to start an online business after listening to 3 podcasts religiously. These were The Read to Lead Podcast hosted by Jeff Brown, Smart Passive Income hosted by Pat Flynn, and 48 Days to the Work You Love hosted by Dan Miller. These mentors opened my eyes to the possibility that I too could have a successful online business. In less than a year they taught me more about starting a business than I could have learned in 4 years studying entrepreneurship in college. And once I started my business they, along with others taught me how to run and grow my business. 

Because of the impact podcasts have had on my life and my desire to mentor as many as possible, I have started my own podcast, The Stay At Home Nurse Podcast. On the podcast, I pay it forward by sharing, inspiration, insight, and information to help others get the career and lifestyle they desire. 

In addition, I will be co-presenting a 3-hour Preconference Workshop on Mentoring with Anne Llewellyn RN-BC, MS, BHSA, CCM, CRRN, and Jeanine Zukerman, RN, BSN, CCM at CMSA’s National Conference and Expo in Boston on Sunday, June 28th. This interactive program titled This is Mentoring! Three Case Managers Share Their Very Different yet Complimentary Approaches to Mentoring will leave you inspired and equipped to mentor and be mentored! We look forward to seeing you there. 

There is something special about the traditional mentor-mentee relationship. But I would like to invite you to also look at nontraditional ways to mentor and be mentored. Imagine the satisfaction in knowing that you were instrumental in ensuring that quality case management is being provided by the next generation of case managers. Whether you have spent your entire career in case management or are just a few steps ahead of those whom you mentor, you can make a difference.