Mentoring Matters: Mimi Arpa Meeders, RN
Mimi Arpa Meeder, RN, knows first hand that the encouragement and support of others can make all the difference in a nursing career. Early on, she was encouraged to become a nurse by a local urologist who employed her as an office assistant. “He saw my potential and pushed me,” she remembers.
Though somewhat intimidated by the course of study, Meeder listened to her boss and mentor, enrolled in nursing school and graduated in 2002. As an acute care nurse at Springfield Hospital for the last six years, she enjoys teaching and serving as a preceptor to new nurses and mentor to many others.
“I enjoy helping young nurses who are just starting out,” relates Meeder, who received a Springfield Hospital Nursing Excellence Award last year. “I came into nursing in a different way and I’m happy if I can help new nurses benefit from the lessons I’ve learned along the way.”
Meeder recalls her positive experience with her own preceptor and tries to remember how she felt during her initial days and the type of information she needed to learn. “I try to explain things thoroughly and don’t assume that people already know things,” she says. “I also check back with the ones who don’t ask a lot of questions. Some people are just more hesitant to ask, but they still have questions if you prompt them.”
Among the nurses she precepts, Meeder is respected for telling it like it is and being sympathetic when a nurse is having a down day. “I try to take care of them and provide moral support,” she relates. “I tell them that they’ll have bad days … days where they’ll go home crying, and that I’d think there was something wrong with them if that didn’t happen. I remind them that that it took me almost a year and a half until I became truly comfortable in my role.”
For the past five years, Meeder has served on the Nurse Practice Council and is known by her peers as the “go to” person for any new policies and procedures. “Even nurses who have been around for a while rely on me,” she notes. “I often hear, ‘Ask Mimi, she’ll know,’ and that’s very rewarding to me.
“I bring everything I learn back to Springfield and enjoy keeping everyone up to date,” continues Meeder, who was recently nominated as a Magnet™ Ambassador. “It’s important for nurses to understand the reasons behind the policies, especially with evidence-based practices.”
For Meeder, nursing feels like a calling. “I enjoy the fact that I’m constantly learning and, in turn, teaching others,” she says. “This is where I was meant to be.”