Our Region, Our People

Meet Valencia

Cape York, Qld

Nurse mentor loves role and plans to continue mentoring nursing students

For registered nurse (RN), Valencia Anderson, being a nurse mentor is a passion project she finds extremely rewarding.

And her door is always open.

“I love helping other nurses and sharing my knowledge and life experiences,” Ms Anderson said.

“I have always made it clear that I have an ‘open door’ policy and am available for my mentees any time they need help.”

As a Cairns RN, employed by Omega Health Medical Centre, Valencia is also a program nurse mentor with the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) Transition to Practice Program (TPP), which is funded by Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN).

NQPHN has funded the Transition to Practice program since 2019, assisting more than 30 nurses and nurse mentors working in, or transitioning into, general practice settings, including in rural and remote locations.

“Being able to share my knowledge and give tips to students, colleagues and, at times, doctors, are the reason why I enjoy being a nurse mentor,” she said.

“It’s a very satisfying feeling and self-rewarding when a colleague asks me questions or needs advice.”  

And Valencia has a lot of primary health care experience to share with nursing students eager for a career in general practice nursing.  

“I have worked for many years in primary care, including rural and remote locations such as Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory,” she said.

“During those years, I worked as a practice nurse and chronic disease management nurse, and have had many opportunities to mentor students, including registered nurses, enrolled nurses, and Indigenous health workers while they completed their GP experience.”

As a teenager, Valencia grew up in a small country town with one doctor’s clinic, a hospital, and a dental clinic.  

Her interest in health was inspired by a child health nurse who worked at the doctor’s clinic.  

“Having an inspiring passionate person in my teenage years and then again as a student nurse, lit the desire in me to become a mentor and tutor myself,” she said.  

Valencia has been a member of APNA since 2006. So, when the TTP program began, she set her sights on becoming a mentor in the program.

In October 2022, that dream came to life – and today she is one of the program’s most well-liked and respected nurse mentors.

“I intend to carry on as a TPP mentor, as well as look at other opportunities to continue to mentor nurses and students in primary care,” she said.

“I would also love to see more Indigenous staff in primary care get access to mentoring and support.”

Most recently, Valencia has been mentoring a nurse in Townsville who has been a GP nurse for two years.

“Depending on a mentee’s experience, what they need from a mentor will vary from person to person, and the need for mentoring is really determined by them,” she said.

“My mentee had some experience in general practice, she had a good understanding of what she wanted to achieve, she had a plan, and was coping well.  

“She was very competent with self-directed learning as the program does have plenty of structure and resources for her to access and set her pace.

“I was keen to pour out my knowledge and experiences, and I know she appreciated my contact and knew I was available for her.”

Valencia said every mentee’s journey was different.

“The nurse I mentored has had experience in another practice and was a respected member of their team, however they couldn’t provide the mentoring she needed,” she said.

“Her desire to be effective in her new practice and her own satisfaction motivated her to utilise the APNA resources available.  

“The program gave her an opportunity to access support and APNA resources, which are great to help understand role and scope of general practice.

“From the get-go she had a “go get it” attitude and wanted to learn, understand, and achieve her own goals, and feel like an important and valued member of the practice.

“Her new workplace enabled her to grow in her confidence and establish herself in the practice. I believe she is now a valued member of her practice.”

While it is Valencia’s role to help nurses and students grow, she recognises the program – made available through NQPHN – also assisted in her professional growth.

“The resources have been valuable. I would never have had access to these mentoring-focused resources if not for our coordinator passing them along for our own development,” she said.

“Most of my mentoring or precepting has been informal, but now it is more formal, and I feel valued and validated. I highly recommend the Transition to Practice Program.”

Our priority areas

Population Health
Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drugs
GPs and other Primary
Care Professionals
First Nations Health
System Integration