Aug. 29, 2023

Mentorship key to navigating transition from nursing school to registered nurse career

In NurseMentor, both emergency nurse Kate Brown and fourth-year student mentee Moez Arhuoma find support and opportunities
Kate Brown and Moez Arhuoma
Kate Brown and Moez Arhuoma

Kate Brown, BN’21, may only have been an RN for a few years, but her passion for her career and love for her role as an emergency nurse inspired her to want to support a future health-care professional through mentorship. 

“Eventually all nursing students will become our colleagues, so let’s engage in positive and supportive relationships now,” Brown says.  “I have really valued the opportunity to make a new professional relationship with a future RN. It’s also been a great chance for me to reflect on my own career and how far I’ve come in just two short years.” 

After graduation, Brown worked for nine months in an acute pulmonary and medical unit before transitioning to an emergency department in Calgary. That experience, combined with the fact she is a recent grad, made her the perfect mentor for Moez Arhuoma.

“Honestly, I did not have too many expectations for NurseMentor beyond having to find a mentor,” Arhuoma, a fourth-year nursing student, confesses. “One of the bigger things I was hoping for was to find somebody who has very similar goals to myself and has achieved some of the things I want to achieve. In that regard, I found that the program very helpful and Kate provided me with resources and tips that I never knew existed which has also helped me tremendously.” 

“Despite its challenges, I love the ups and downs of emergency nursing and jump on any chance to talk about it,” says Brown.  “I had an excellent preceptor in nursing school who inspired me to go into this area and helped me navigate the struggles of transitioning from nursing school to registered nurse.” Because of this, Brown wanted the opportunity to give back some of that same support to someone else. “I’ve also always been drawn to teaching and thought this would be a great chance to experience a mentorship role.”  

Brown admits to a little trepidation before meeting Arhuoma. “I wondered whether his nursing interests would line up with my own and whether he would get tired of listening to me talk about how much I love my job."

"Luckily for me, the NurseMentor team did a fantastic job in matching us. We had plenty to talk about because we share similar goals and ambitions.” 

Arhuoma agrees. “Kate provided so much information on how to navigate the current nursing world which will help in my pursuit of future goals. Likewise, her amazing personality and character really supplemented her wealth of knowledge which ultimately made the mentoring experience with Kate a great one.” 

Brown does acknowledge a challenge inherent in sharing details about a nursing career. “I wanted to inspire and encourage my mentee, while also being realistic about the difficulties of the job. Nursing is a rewarding profession, but also an extremely challenging job. Emergency nursing is especially difficult. I think openly talking about what you face and how to engage in self-care is crucial to succeeding in this field.” 

Arhuoma, who was only looking to NurseMentor for simple guidance about the “big hurdles of navigating a career in health care,” received so much more and recommends it for all undergraduate nursing students.

“The amount of knowledge that will open up for any student is more than what one may be able to achieve on their own. From my experience, the mentors really are in this to help students achieve their goals as well as provide that initial support for students entering the complex world of health care and nursing."

Although there is no transcendent rationale to join NurseMentor, I would simply say the support and knowledge of a good mentor is priceless and I believe that many opportunities that would not have been known about may open for you.” 

And, like most alumni who venture into mentorship with NurseMentor, Brown is enthusiastic about the program. “Huge thanks to the NurseMentor team and big thanks to my mentee for always being engaged, open to advice and for listening to my endless nursing stories!”  

UCalgary Nursing undegraduate students and nursing alumni are invited to join NurseMentor and to experience the many benefits of mentoring. Click below to learn more or to join now.