Nurses at Brigham and Women’s Hospital take part in numerous mentorship programs through which they build relationships, learn from colleagues and elevate others’ understanding of clinical nursing practice.
Educating Local, Young Scholars
In early 2014, the BWH and Roxbury Community College (RCC) Scholarship Program was born. Launched by Jackie Somerville, PhD, RN, chief nursing officer and senior vice president for Patient Care Services and Jeffrey Greenberg, MD, MBA, associate medical director of the Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization, the effort is led through the Center for Nursing Excellence by Patrice Nicholas, DNSc, DHL (Hon.), MPH, MS, RN, ANP, FAAN, director of Global Health and Academic Partnerships, and Ellie Bergeron, MS, RN, director of the Newly-Licensed Nurse Program. The program provides scholarships to RCC associate degree graduates who are pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and connects them to a BWH nurse mentor for the duration of their program.
The partnership with RCC is a means of advancing the Department of Nursing’s goal of increasing diversity in its nursing workforce to better meet the needs of its multicultural patient population. Since the program’s inception, six scholars have been paired with nurse mentors, who help them navigate their careers. Three have completed their BSN and been hired as BWH nurses.
“We know how important social support is to new nurses,” said Bergeron. “Mentors and mentees reinforce and complement each other, and there is a strong sense of teamwork.”
Added Joyce Johnson, MS, RN, nurse director on Tower 15CD and a leader of the program: “Caprie Bell mentored Maria Yolanda Barreto, whom I have hired. This is an example of BWH Nursing at its finest!”
Welcoming Nurses From Around the World
For the past five years, BWH has hosted nurses from Haiti, pairing them with BWH nurse mentors. The initiative, called the Regis College Haiti Project, is a collaboration between the Regis College School of Nursing, BWH, Partners In Health and Haiti’s Ministry of Health and State University that aims to advance nursing education beyond BWH. The program is offered to visiting Haitian nurses enrolled in the Regis Master’s of Nursing program.
“In addition to their courses, nurses are able to spend time in a clinical setting at BWH, which is essential to learning,” said Nicholas.
Most recently in June, BWH welcomed Haitian nurse educators to CWN 9 for four days of clinical shadowing and discussion.
“This collaboration is changing nursing education and care in Haiti,” said Cherlie Magny-Normilus, FNP-C, MSN, RN, clinical research nurse practitioner and director of policy and advocacy for the Regis College Haiti Project. “As a Haitian-American nurse, I am honored to be a part of that.”
Collaborating With Physicians
Recognizing the importance of the relationship between nurses and doctors, BWH created a mentorship program to build understanding and trust between medical students and nurses. In partnership with program facilitator Margaret Costello, PhD, RN, clinical nurse on Tower 15, the program is led by Somerville and BWH endocrinologist Erik Alexander, MD, director of Medical School Education.
“Evidence shows that interprofessional practice leads to better patient outcomes,” said Somerville.
This year, 14 students in their third year at Harvard Medical School were paired with BWH nurses. On June 25, many of the participating students and nurses met for the first time and enjoyed dinner together. In the coming year, the students will shadow their mentors and tour care units.
“They learn about the work we do, and we learn about them. It’s very collaborative,” said Costello.
Additionally, BWH regularly hosts residents in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) so they can observe, learn about neonatal medicine and assist with deliveries. “To a resident with little experience, a high risk delivery can be very frightening and stressful,” said clinical nurse Lillian O’Leary, RN.
According to Jenna O’Connell, MD, pediatric resident at Mass General: “Many of us had little delivery room experience before rotating at the Brigham, but nurses’ gentle reassurance and superb teaching allowed us to become comfortable.”