Our Nurses Know: Mentorship
A love of learning energizes Tina Weinberg every day at Michigan Medicine.
“Everyone around me teaches me something new, whether they realize it or not,” said Tina, a registered nurse who works with high-acuity pulmonary patients on 6C at University Hospital. “Whether it’s a patient, family member or colleague, I absorb so much from the people around me. I truly believe that helps me become the best nurse I can be.”
Recently, Tina has turned her focus toward playing a more formal mentoring role at U-M, joining the School of Nursing as an adjunct lecturer.
“There’s nothing I like more than working with students, who keep me on my toes, keep me fresh and, yes, keep me learning new things,” Tina said. “I wouldn’t give that up for anything.”
An early passion for nursing
Tina always wanted to become a nurse after growing up with parents who were in and out of the hospital.
“I would watch the nurses and thought that they were so important and so smart — and my view of them hasn’t changed at all!” Tina said with a laugh.
She became the first person in her family to go to college before joining Michigan Medicine as a clerk in 1995 and then as a nurse three years later.
The last two decades — during which she’s raised three children of her own along with a stepson, earned her bachelor’s degree and is in the process of pursuing a Master’s — have been challenging, yet incredibly rewarding.
“When I come to work, I’m among the most professional and most talented people in the health care industry,” Tina said. “We all hit the floor running and don’t stop until our shift is over. It makes me proud to be a part of this organization and inspires me to give back and make it even better.”
Taking care to the next level
For that reason, Tina has met with students twice a week for the past two years and rounds with them as they interact with patients and family members. Tina said it’s fascinating to watch future nurses go through experiences for the first time.
“What is so ordinary to me now is still a ‘wow’ moment for them,” Tina said. “Seeing that light in their eyes renews my spirit for what we do.”
Her main focus is impressing upon students how well-rounded nurses have to be.
“To be successful, you certainly need to have the technical skills, such as learning how to take blood pressure and administer medication,” Tina said. “But you have to have so much more than that — you need critical thinking and interpersonal skills in order to take patient care to the next level.”
So Tina teaches her students to read body language and to understand that everything they say to a patient or family makes an impact. She also teaches them what sort of signs to look out for in a patient in order to determine the level of care he or she needs at any moment.
For Tina, such mentorship is a two-way street.
“The students are in the classroom all the time, bringing new skills and new discoveries with them every week,” Tina said. “So I’ll learn from them and then we’ll lean on each other to perfect communication techniques and other ways to improve the patient experience.”
There’s also a personal stake in teaching that Tina thinks about often.
“These students are the ones who will be taking care of me and my family one day,” Tina said.
Getting them ready to perform their duties is a responsibility that Tina has no problem shouldering. In fact, she plans to teach even more once she completes her Master’s degree.
As Tina said: “I was meant to do this job — I was born to do this job. And I look forward to it every single day.”