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Keywords:

  • nursing;
  • public health nursing;
  • mentor;
  • mentee;
  • mentoring;
  • role model;
  • preceptor;
  • coach;
  • consulting

New public health nurses (PHNs) move from novice to expert status with enormous expectations from their organization, their peers, and themselves. These expectations lead to stress that may be beyond the level of endurance. Mentoring is an important answer to this problem. Mentoring is the greatest gift PHNs can give to each other, especially for PHNs who self-identified themselves as minority cultural group members. This article describes definitions, roles, benefits, and responsibilities of mentors and mentees and includes mentoring concerns, current and proposed mentoring programs, and mentoring issues for gender and race. Organizational mentoring programs can be created that will facilitate the development of mentoring relationships. These programs help experienced PHNs bridge the gap between the theory and reality of nursing for themselves and inexperienced colleagues.