USD Nursing Alumnus Creates Successful Mentoring Podcast

USD Nursing Alumnus Creates Successful Mentoring Podcast

Alumnus Ali Tayyeb is the creator of the RN-Mentor podcast.

The importance of a mentor cannot be overstated, believes USD alumnus Ali Tayyeb, PhD. 

Tayyeb is the creator, producer and host of the RN-Mentor podcast, a show dedicated to interviewing leading professionals in the field of nursing. The podcast, now in its fifth season, has listeners in more than 65 countries and is downloaded roughly 40,000 times monthly. 

“The show allows individuals to listen to the journey of nurses who are at the peak of the profession,” says Tayyeb, a 2017 graduate of the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Sciences  and currently an assistant professor in the Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing at Cal State Los Angeles. “The RN-Mentor podcast really filled a need where I had the opportunity to talk to these professionals about the journey of getting into nursing school and from nursing school to where they are now.” 

Tayyeb, a United States Navy veteran, has always believed in the importance of having mentors to grow both professionally and personally. In the military, finding individuals to emulate was never a problem, he says. But, once he entered health care, for him, mentors became scarce. 

“Some of the people I wanted as mentors were not available — they were across the country or I didn’t have access to them,” Tayyeb says. 

The RN-Mentor podcast, like many recent creative ventures, began during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teaching remotely, Tayyeb was looking for ways to remain engaged with his students. At the suggestion of his wife, Tayyeb decided to begin recording a podcast. 

“I started it as a supplement for my course when we went into pandemic mode,” he explains. “Once it went online, it took off from there.”

Tayyeb began reaching out to potential guests — which included leading professionals in the field — and to his surprise, a lot of his invitation requests were accepted, something he attributes to so many people working remotely. 

Like many creators, Tayyeb is encouraged by the podcast format because it gives him the opportunity to conduct longer format interviews, and to really flesh out who his guests are and spotlight the qualities that make them amazing mentors for students and young nursing professionals. 

He also is very deliberate about inviting a diverse range of guests to his podcast. 

“I want to make sure, at the minimum, my students have the opportunity to see [people] like them on the show who are doing research and policy work and [are] heads of academia and business,” he says. 

The growth of the RN-Mentor podcast has attracted two partner organizations, Tayyeb says. The Association of California Nurse Leaders has adopted the podcast for its members and Be1Support1, a nonprofit focused on helping match nurse mentors with mentees, has also promoted the podcast. 

So what does Tayyeb attribute to the success of his first podcast venture? In short, it fills a gap, he says. 

“Undergraduate work is so full of clinical content that there isn’t enough time to open up an arena where we share what else nursing is doing to impact local communities, our nation and the world,” he says. 

— Matthew Piechalak