Mentoring for Life- Supporting Activation during Dress Rehearsals

By: Mary Rivera

When teaching nurses how to become operating room nurses, I have learned the importance of mentoring.

There is a test question in the Periop 101 training course from the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses’ (AORN) that asks if mentorship is for a defined period or a lifetime.

The answer is, of course, that mentors are for life. When teaching someone a new skill, the mentor’s support and guidance don’t stop once the skill is mastered. Mentors are always ready to step in to help if needed, be that phone a friend should the mentee have a question or require a listening ear.

“Nurse mentorships are really in the best interest of the patient. They should increase patient safety, patient satisfaction, employee engagement, and even efficiencies.”- Rae Ellen Douglas

A perfect example of mentorship is the interaction that occurs during Dress Rehearsal between the Yellow Brick Facilitator and the organization’s Scenario Coordinator as they prepare to open a new healthcare facility. From the outset, I have learned that gentle guidance is vital.  Allowing the Scenario Coordinator, usually a department manager or leader, to direct their team through the scenario is an essential part of their role for their day.  As Yellow Brick Facilitators, our role is to build the Scenario Coordinator’s confidence as a leader. Just like a coach during a big game, we lift our Scenario Coordinators through the session, elevating their comfort as a leader.  Background mentoring means, “I am here to support you; I am not here to take over.”

Just like in the Operating Room, communication is critical. Connecting with the Scenario Coordinator before the Dress Rehearsal session begins enables an effective partnership for the day.

As Yellow Brick Facilitators, we are there to guide, clarify, and jump in if needed.  We advise, encourage, and support the leader. The relationship established during Dress Rehearsal often lasts long after completing the last scenario session.  As mentors, we are available as long as needed in whatever capacity our mentees may require.