Harrisburg Nursing Home Launches New Peer Mentoring Program

Pennsylvania nursing home, The Gardens at Blue Ridge, announced the launch of a new peer mentoring program for its team of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA). The innovative program, developed by the SEIU Training and Education Fund, is the facility’s latest employee development initiative. Mentors will support new employees in adjusting to their role and responsibilities, serve as a role model for the provision of quality care and services, and act as a guide to acclimate those to company values.

Mentors are selected based on outstanding work performance, commitment to quality care, and thorough knowledge of CNA responsibilities and procedures. Mentors are also required to complete 21 hours of training; providing each with the education and tools they will need to support their fellow employees. Sessions include courses in problem-solving, communication, relationship and team building skills.

While the mentoring program’s primary goal is to aide new employees, the actual mentoring relationship benefits both parties. For instance, while a mentor may help a less-experienced nurse mature and grow in the field, that mentor also benefits from the satisfaction of helping a younger colleague and opportunity for professional development.

Catherine Kirkham, Administrator at the facility, stated: “We believe a strong mentoring program enhances our facility, the quality of life for our nurses and ultimately helps maintain the high standard of care we provide our residents.”

“Those working in the nursing field understand the extreme importance of effective teamwork,” said Tara Toms, director of the program, adding, “the skills we’re imparting to front-line staff are intended to empower those who provide care to help build a culture of peer encouragement, continual learning, and pursuit of excellence. Each nurse has a contribution to make, our job, is to foster an inclusive learning environment one that benefits our nurses and the residents we care for.”