Sara completed her NHSC service in 2004 and currently works at North Central Bronx Hospital in the outpatient/ambulatory care clinic as a family nurse practitioner and HIV/AIDS specialist. When the NHSC asked alumni and clinicians to sign up as a mentor volunteers, Sara said that it was a “no-brainer” to sign up. “Coming from the public health field, I developed a strong sense of giving back. The mentor/mentee relationship turns out to be beneficial for everybody. I feel that you just have to give back!” Sara Back, who is a family nurse practitioner from New York City is matched with mentee Elizabeth (Liz) Mastrianni, a scholar awarded in 2011 attending the University of Rochester-School of Nursing in New York studying to become a nurse practitioner. Sara and Liz have established a strong mentor/mentee relationship where they communicate at least once a month via phone and email and if Liz has any questions, Sara is openly available anytime to speak about the scholar program or her training. This coming January, Liz will have an opportunity to shadow Sara at her clinic for two weeks while she is on winter break.
The mentor program has truly had a positive impact on Sara’s life. “It makes me feel good to know that I can give back and provide my mentee with helpful resources. It is also nice to tell my mentee that she has more resources at her disposal than what I had when I was a scholar.” She hopes that it helps all mentees in the program develop an informal network of resources to know that they are not in this alone and they can call someone and get the help or information they need as they navigate their way through the scholar program.
As the Corps prepares to launch another phase of the mentor program, Sara strongly encourages other alumni, current clinicians and ambassadors to sign up to become a mentor. “I absolutely recommend it! It keeps you sharp and as seasoned providers, it’s what we have to do. It’s not a huge time constraint. I find it to be a fairly easy means of helping.”
If you’re interested in signing up to be an NHSC mentor, please send an email to: email@example.com.