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“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

Albert Einstein

Chapter Objectives

Explain how curiosity, inquisitiveness, and being a student of nurse colleagues’ experiences leads to understanding, appreciation, and ability to apply what was learned to one’s own career.

Identify the roles and benefits of mentoring and ways to establish an effective mentoring relationship.

Describe ways that the power of collaboration can support accomplishing significant goals.

The premise of this chapter is based on the belief that when we create meaningful relationships, we are poised to seamlessly transfer wisdom and are able to achieve our personal and professional goals faster, with fewer false starts, and with a greater sense of purpose, clarity, satisfaction, and accomplishment. At the same time, we are also contributing to the profession and/or science of nursing. As we address workforce transitions, those individuals leaving and others stepping into the roles that have been vacated, the impact and value of meaningful relationships become increasingly important. In this chapter, we identify and describe six strategies that foster the development of these significant relationships. We begin, however, by defining what a relationship is as it pertains to knowledge transfer.


The definition of relationship is broad and has several meanings. For the purposes of this chapter, a relationship encompasses connecting, associating, or being involved with another person for the purpose of creating strong bonds (The Free Dictionary, n.d.). These strong bonds are formed to accomplish specific goals, tasks, or purposes and may be either informal or formal.

It’s important to consider, from the perspectives of both nurse professionals—the retiring nurse executive and the early-career nurse—what connects or binds each party in the relationship:

  • What is each giving up and/or gaining?

  • What does each participant want/need from the other party?

  • How can each ensure that individual needs and expectations are addressed?

It’s also important to identify the elements that create an effective, trusting relationship. We used the following assumptions to guide the development of this chapter:

  • The retiring nurse professional has something to share and contribute to the profession of nursing, the discipline, and often to the organization.

  • The receiving nurse professional is interested in learning what is being shared/contributed.

  • Personal relationships provide greater opportunity for sharing wisdom than what can be gleaned from academic/formal learning.

  • There is no substitute for experience.

  • Opening doors for those receiving information creates awareness for them regarding the current state of their knowledge—“I don’t know what I don’t know.”


We have identified six strategies to support the development of relationships for the purposes of supporting integration across the generations. The six strategies are as follows:

  1. Storytelling

  2. Mentoring process

  3. Powerful questions

  4. Career planning

  5. Collaboration and wisdom ...

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