Feb. 23, 2021

Nursing student says mentoring relationship makes her grateful for choosing nursing

Third-year student Josie Morrison shares how she and mentor Bev Stevenson, BN'84 challenge each other and bonded
Mentor Bev Stevenson with mentee Josie Morrison
Mentor Bev Stevenson with mentee Josie Morrison

Nursing mentee Josie Morrison and her mentor Bev Stevenson BN'84 have a rapport that belies their brief mentorship.

Morrison, a former Olympic speed skater, volleys tough questions and Stevenson shoots back with honest, real-life examples pulled from her 36 years as an RN  then rounds out her advice with a quip. The two have met regularly but only since October, and Morrison says she leaves each meeting feeling that she has taken steps toward what she aims to achieve in her career as a nurse.

“Bev lifts me and humbles me," she says. "Bev has provided insight through her experience of balancing life both professionally and personally.

“Nursing is hard,” she adds, “so prioritizing yourself is essential.”

Morrison says she appreciates the insights Stevenson draws from her time spent in the high-stress environment of the emergency room. “I value the lessons she learned and the person she has become because of them.”

Morrison shares with us how mentoring has been valuable to her.

Are there one or two goals or skills you’re working on with the help of your mentor?
“My interest in sexual health is what initially connected the two of us. Bev has taught me so much valuable information that has not been covered in the nursing program thus far. Her knowledge of providing effective, unbiased patient-centred care through maximizing comfort and trust helps me become the nurse and human I strive to be. I have plans to shadow Bev at work, and I cannot wait! I love that this mentorship program has provided me with the connection to work in an area of high interest.

“Bev's experience as a leader on an emergency unit provides me with valuable leadership advice through stories highlighting the importance of teamwork, empowerment, communication, conflict management and adaptability. I cannot help but see a bit of myself in her, and I wonder if that similarity is what drove this relationship to be so successful."

Third-year nursing student Josie Morrison

Third-year nursing student Josie Morrison

What do you feel you can reach out to your mentor for, as far as questions, guidance or anything at all?
“I appreciate the honest relationship Bev and I have developed thus far during our mentoring relationship. Any questions I ask are met with the same level of interest and curiosity from Bev. She readily offers constructive feedback, which I respond to very well as a goal-oriented individual and previous elite athlete.

"She entertains my interest in hard-hitting ethical questions and provides real-life examples of how she has met them in life. Her nursing approach and vigour to stand up for herself and her patients inspire me as a student nurse.”

How has mentoring helped you in other ways?

“This mentoring relationship has reduced my anxiety regarding what my future will look like. In her 50s, Bev completely redirected her career trajectory to a way that suits her life. Incredibly, you can do that in the profession of nursing."

"Bev's sense of humour as a comedian always finds a way to infiltrate itself at the most opportune times, rounding out every conversation with a smile.”

How do you think you may have helped or supported your mentor?
“Bev has told me that she appreciates my determination and passion for health care. I can see that she is eager to elevate my performance through her support and validation, which is conducive to my momentum into the profession.

“She is an excellent active listener, so I do not doubt that some of my ramblings have left an impact on her as well.”

Is there anything you’d like to add about how mentoring has benefited you, especially in your third year of nursing studies?
“Bev has been an absolute rock during the knowingly heavy workload of year three. Her vast experience has given me an alternative way to learn course material through personal stories! Our conversations have a way of sticking in my mind beyond reading a textbook.

"Having an outlet to lean on as I navigate the pandemic's uncertainty has helped me grow in passion and care toward nurses' undeniably vital role in society.”

Through NurseMentor, alumni of UCalgary Nursing have helped students become more confident nurses. The purpose of NurseMentor is to support undergraduate student nurses in their professional and personal development and to engage nursing alumni in a meaningful way. Mentoring is a success when both student and mentor are committed to a reciprocal relationship. Consider being a mentor to an aspiring nurse, or seeking a mentor to help clarify your own path as a new nurse.