Working in both an academic institution and a community hospital, I have found drastically different types of mentoring for employees – not just NPs, but APPs as a whole. In a larger facility that is focused on academia, there are mentoring programs in place at all levels of nursing practice. In the APP role, residency programs are utilized to reinforce general knowledge of medicine before transitioning into a more specialized role. In a smaller private community setting, mentoring is much less formal and relies on the physician or another APP who has the “role” of mentor. It seems that often these people are not dedicated to the role so much as being “voluntold.” There is a distinct difference between wanting to participate in providing education to new hires and new graduates because it is something you are passionate about. That passion can be passed on and continue to create a positive culture within the organization.
This culture of more formal mentorships and residencies allows for more professional collaboration. From what I have observed the facilities with formal programs have better interprofessional relationships. These relationships span across an organization, and ideally improve patient experience. Additionally, with collaboration, organizations can work together to reduce cost – which often is a driving force for change. In a more progressive environment, like an academic institution, all health professions are working on making the shift to collaboration rather than continuing to operate as individual units. An organization that does not require collaboration it is evident throughout the system. This creates a gap in care. Patient care can be compromised – unintentionally, waste can occur, and ultimately the system does not function the best that it can. I do believe, the largest challenge to this is creating buy in from each profession. Some professions will engage early, and others won’t. Continuing to demonstrate the benefits of collaboration will create more buy in and hopefully be change agent within the organization.
From personal experience, having seen both sides of the coin between two different institutions, it seems that academic institutions are encouraging collaboration from the beginning of training and education within all disciplines of healthcare. They are more apt to have residency programs which continue to encourage collaboration. Smaller community hospitals may not be as progressive with mentoring programs. It can be more difficult to bring providers (all disciplines) into a collaborative environment because “it’s not been done this way before.” Ultimately, what results in best patient experience and reduces cost are the two biggest motivators for change, and what can be the driving force to bring everyone into collaboration, and not continue to work as individuals.