Building UP: The Importance of Career Sponsors for Nurses

Building up, not out

Hi Nurses! As the Nurse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program continues to grow, we never want to lose sight of what’s most important. That is, yielding tangible, career-advancing results for nurses everywhere. Events, certificate programs, networking nights and more are fantastic, but to end there stops short of the original vision grounding this initiative. We want to bring nurses UP. Building a network OUT is always a good thing (who doesn’t like more friends?), but what’s the point if one’s career hasn’t been directly affected in a positive way?

After reading this insightful blog by FastCompany, it was clear that educational resources and tangible results aren’t one in the same. And while the former is often a requisite for the latter, the latter is the real goal in mind. The aforementioned blog articulates this dichotomy as Mentors and Sponsors. Mentors being conveyors of advice and sponsors being defined as the following:

Unlike a mentor, a sponsor is someone who can not only advise you on your career, but actively help advance it. They have power in an organization and can use their social capital and credibility to advocate for you.

Tangible Results = Career Advancement

…the contacts and sponsors that I have been exposed to since the original Nurse Hackathon in June of 2016 has been a bit overwhelming.  And I mean this in the most complimentary way… After the [summit] Ann Corcoran and I spoke for quite some time…and she gave me other people to approach.

Maggie McLaughlin BSN, RN, VABC
IV Safe T

Maggie McLaughlin, along with Melinda J. Watman, is an entreprenurse and a driving force behind IV Safe T, an innovative approach to vascular access designed to mitigate injury and infection. She has connected with several people from the Nurse Hackathon and Nurse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Summit that became sponsors along the way; helping catalyze the growth and development of IV Safe T, ultimately positioning Watman and McLaughlin for entrepreneurial success. That being said, sponsors don’t simply materialize out of thin air, but instead come to fruition through one’s continued efforts.

Always be proactive and engage with your networks to find the people capable of yielding tangible results within your specific industry, organization or practice.
 Bay Path Practical Nurses

Bay Path Practical Nurses

Nurses want to have an impact. What we do has to make a difference.

Nancy P. Hanrahan, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean & Professor School of Nursing | Senior Associate Dean, Bouve College of Health Sciences

Where to go from here?


As always, progress starts in your mind. Analyze the world around you, take note of your daily operations and generate ideas on how to improve your own life first. Chances are these same ideas will one day advance your career and improve the quality of healthcare.

We’ve said this before, but the truth endures:

Nurses are the natural innovators of healthcare.

Healthcare as we know it is on the brink of a fundamental shift in its perception of nurses. Change must first start with nurses at all ages and levels of seniority. From there progress will undoubtedly follow. Just stay active and engaged. We don’t have time to sit idly by and expect different results. The nursing profession may be the most purposeful career to exist: the purpose of helping others in any way possible. Be equally as purposeful in moving your career forward — the world could really use it

Check out some of the free events coming down the pipeline courtesy of the Nurse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program at Northeastern:

Nurse Innovation Night – Thursday, October 26, 2017 in Charlotte, NC
Imperial College of London Lecture Series – Saturday, October 28, 2017 at Northeastern University
Tom:Boston Makeathon – Sunday & Monday, November 19/20, 2017 at the Seaport World Trade Center

Additionally, our immersive Nurse Leadership & Entrepreneurship Certificate is now offered in both graduate university credit hour and accredited contact hour formats. Scholarships available!