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Mentoring in Action

Box of Chocolates

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 558
We’ve all had horrible days.  In this longer-than-usual post, I’d like to share an extraordinary example of mentorship that was forwarded to me. 

Dr. Dan Wilensky responds electronically to a trainee who recently wrote in her online reflective journal about a particularly difficult day.  Dan is a family practice physician, an active primary care provider for 15 years.  He is Chief of Preceptors for Community Health Center, Inc.’s  Nurse Practitioner Residency program and preceptor trainer for CHC’s remotely hosted NP postgraduate training programs across the country.  He is widely respected for his clinical expertise, wisdom and empathy.  

Dan’s response is a superb example of how technology--when it is thoughtfully integrated with clinical practices and learning environments--can create a private, personal and safe learning space.  Mentoring occurs in many ways, using many media; technology can and should enhance and deepen this essential hallmark of postgraduate NP training.

Do Dan's words strike a chord?  Read more and judge for yourself.

NPs Lighting the Way

Shooting Stars

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 504
It is midnight dark. Streaks of light race across the sky.  In mid-August, despite being a buffet for mosquitoes, I love to watch the Perseid meteor showers.  The first time I experienced the magic of a “falling star” I was 5 or 6.  I’ve been hooked ever since.


It’s not too much of a stretch to say that’s also my experience with nurse practitioners. I’m hooked on NPs.  Although by education, training and experience, I am an educator and psychologist, it’s now my profound pleasure to be a part of the NP world.  I see NPs wherever I look.  Part of that is because of my position with the Consortium, of course, but it is much, much more. 

Mentoring -- A Safe Harbor

Elective Performance Improvement

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 1115

You know those meetings where one person does all the talking? Might be a well-intentioned expert. Might be an opinionated know it all.  For whatever reason the spark that fuels discussion just never happens. People get bored; they check their cell phones; respond to texts.  It is painful for everyone.

And then there are those inspiring discussions that are dynamic and insightful, with pregnant pauses and intense focus. Ideas shared. Suggestions offered. Solutions discovered. It’s seeing Washington DC's Japanese cherry trees blossom almost overnight after a spring rain, as in the accompanying picture taken by Redd Angelo on Unsplash. Awesome. Breath taking. Beautiful. Transformative.

As with my experience in acquiring new skills in creating an atmosphere that encourages dynamic and informative discussions in an online course, effective mentoring is transformative and truly a gift that impacts the future. Whether as a recipient or provider, it is an opportunity to be taken.

A Balanced Life

The Challenge of Modeling Wellness

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 982

Erene Stergiopoulos is an author, an educational researcher, a decade-long cancer patient and now a third-year medical student at the University of Toronto. She recently wrote about the cloak of superhuman invulnerability that is worn by many in the helping professions.  Erene expressed eloquently how experiencing life as a patient has informed her view of healthcare and had a positive impact on her role as a future provider.  She notes that in medical education, students learn about disease, but not what it’s like to live with disease.  

Illness can serve as a crucible reminding us of the gifts of human frailty – a capacity for compassion and empathy.  

In our roles as mentors, teachers and colleagues, let’s model maintaining good health.  When we are ill, take time to heal.  When we are exhausted, make time to rest.  When we need to be replenished spiritually, seek solace. When we haven’t connected with those we care for, remember that time past is time lost. Take your vacation time and encourage your trainees to do the same.  

Life Lessons Learned from Bird Watching

Patience, Persistence and Seizing the Moment

Candice Rettie, PhD 0 901

Wildlife provides a frequent reminder of the virtues of practice, persistence, and seizing the moment. Fledgling purple martins fly in dance-like synchrony as they perfect their aeronautic skills.  In the span of one second, the blue heron shifts from prolonged and absolute stillness to a startling, almost invisible spearing of a hapless crab.   Simultaneously I witness demonstrations of beauty, patience, practice, precision, and expertise. 

On a daily basis, preceptors and trainees act with patience and model compassion in spirit, informed delivery of healthcare, and precision in action.  Trainees persist until it good practice becomes rote and can be activated immediately when needed – they develop the clinical ‘muscle memory’ skills to delivery competent healthcare upon demand.  The intent is to serve others with intelligence and competence, grace and dignity, tact and compassion.  

This is the time of year for transitions.  Purple martin fledglings fly.  Students graduate.  New residents prepare for their capstone year of professional polishing.  Novice nurse practitioners culminate their metamorphosis into confident practitioners.

 I’d like to remember and acknowledge the gift that nurse practitioners bring to healthcare.

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