Ten years ago Nicole Mitchell, RN, (above right) welcomed new graduate Katie Smith, MSN, RN, CMSRN Clin IV (above left) to the medical-surgical unit at Bon Secours – St. Mary’s Hospital.
Today you’ll find Nicole in the labor and delivery unit, while Katie is part of the adult emergency department. But the time they spent together on the medical surgical (med-surg) unit built the foundation for a lasting friendship.
A great start for a new nurse
Nicole precepted Katie, meaning she oriented the new nurse to the unit and acted as a teacher/mentor. Precepting typically lasts six to eight weeks on the med-surg unit, although the length of time may vary in other hospital units. It’s a great role for someone like Nicole, who loves educating others.
“I wouldn’t be here if Nicole Mitchell hadn’t been my preceptor,” says Katie. “From day one, she saw what I could be and didn’t stop until I was where she wanted me to be. She’s easily one of the best nurses I know and taught me how to be successful.”
According to Nicole, it wasn’t difficult work to orient Katie to the world of real-life nursing, which looks and feels quite different from textbook descriptions.
“She was such a quick learner, and she has blossomed into one of the smartest nurses I know,” says Nicole.
Since joining the Bon Secours family, Katie has continued her professional development. Now a certified medical-surgical registered nurse, she also earned her master’s degree and has taken on the charge nurse role (manager of her unit during her shift).
Friendship, labor and delivery
Even more importantly, Katie is a mom — and Nicole helped care for her in the labor and delivery unit when she had her daughter, Madison, last summer.
Katie says that after knowing Nicole primarily as a med-surg colleague, it was great to see her in a different unit and from the patient’s point of view.
“She was so motivating, and it was so special to see her thriving in another environment,” Katie says.
For her part, Nicole was in a “heightened nursing mode” for her friend. It’s a happy circumstance that can make the labor and delivery unit feel a little more intense.
“You want the perfect delivery,” she says.
It’s clear that the friendship between these two nurse colleagues will be a lasting one. They’ve got each other’s back, personally and professionally.
Perhaps there is just something special about nursing.
“This is a profession where you really grow deep friendships,” explains Katie. “When you go through some of the things we’ve seen, it’s nice to have an ear that understands.”
Read more of our Bon Secours nursing stories.