Mentors help RNs transition to advanced practice roles
Expectations are high for acute care nurse practitioners (ACNPs), and novice ACNPs may benefit from additional support as they transition into advanced practice roles.
The United States has more than 300,000 licensed NPs, with over 36,000 completing their academic programs between 2019 and 2020. They may practice in a variety of clinical settings, each with its own competencies, procedures and patient population.
ACNPs who work in cardiothoracic intensive care units (CTICUs) are highly trained to provide care to critically ill patients with complex conditions and specialized needs. They must be knowledgeable on various procedures, such as coronary artery bypass, cardiac valve replacement or repair, and heart or lung transplants.
"Role of Mentorship in the Transition From Registered Nurse to Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit" details how mentors made a difference as a nurse with eight years of experience in a CTICU moved into an ACNP role. The article is published in AACN Advanced Critical Care, as part of the journal's regular section on issues facing advanced practice nurses.
Lead author Lidia Hernandez, DNP, RN, AGACNP-BC, CCRN-CSC, is an ACNP in the CTICU at Washington University in St. Louis. She worked on the article with co-authors Mary Sullivan, MSN, RN, AGACNP-BC, CCRN, who is an ACNP at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and Jesus Casida, Ph.D., RN, APN-C, FAAN, endowed professor and executive director, Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.
"Clinical knowledge alone is not sufficient to prepare a novice ACNP to enter an already-complex healthcare system amid a pandemic," Hernandez said. "Mentors can help them navigate into a new role with confidence and help them evolve as clinicians and grow into leadership roles."
The article notes the differences between mentorship and preceptorship, which often occurs during orientation and focuses on acquiring specific knowledge or skills. On the other hand, a mentor may provide emotional support, guidance and personal feedback to help with anxiety and imposter syndrome, as well as other issues that may impact effectiveness in a new role.
It also discusses how the mentor helped the novice ACNP develop solutions to challenges that arose with the new role, such as improving organization, preparedness and access to resources.
More information: Lidia Hernandez et al, Role of Mentorship in the Transition From Registered Nurse to Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit, AACN Advanced Critical Care (2023). DOI: 10.4037/aacnacc2023426