Parent Mentor Training


  1. Hello!

    I am thrilled that you are interested in becoming a parent mentor. I am so appreciative of your willingness to give your time and heart to helping the families of St. Jude.

    I would like to invite you to orientation that will be held at St. Jude Please meet in the Chili’s Care Center Lobby by 8:20 a.m. on your assigned date and we will take you to the meeting room from there. Security will be expecting you and can give you parking instructions. We will provide a light breakfast and lunch along with snacks in the afternoon.  

    This orientation will be comprised of two sets of mentors; Parents Assisting, Inspiring and Reassuring (PAIR) and Quality of Life (QoL). PAIR mentors will be matched with newly diagnosed families at the beginning of treatment while QoL mentors will be matched with families who are on palliative care or after the death of their child. The training will be the same, though there may be specific policies and training materials that might pertain to one gtoup more than the other. Please keep this in mind.

    By participating in a program such as this, you will be walking with other parents going through a similar journey as your own. This can bring up feelings, thoughts and emotions that you may not expect. In an effort to prepare you as well as give you time to process these thoughts and feelings, we have created a workbook for you to complete prior to orientation. Please know it is imperative for you to read and complete this workbook cover to cover before orientation. Please bring the workbook with you to orientation as you will be provided a binder to insert the pages. Throughout the day, you will hear presentations from several staff members and seasoned mentors who will facilitate group discussions. You will also be given the opportunity to share your St. Jude story with the other parents. Please do your best to keep your story between 3-5 minutes. There is a section in your workbook to help you with this. At the end of training, you will have an appointment with our photographers to have your picture taken for your ID badge and promotional materials.

    St. Jude requires a background check on all volunteers and employees. You will receive an email from a company called EBI asking you to complete a form that will be used for your background check. Keep in mind this email may go to your junk or spam folder.

    I am looking forward to meeting you and am thankful for your interest in working with St. Jude families during a time that only you know all too well. Please contact me by phone or email if you have any questions or concerns.

    See you soon!

    Brittany Barnett, MS, NCC, CAVS
    Manager, Patient Family-Centered Care
    St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
    262 Danny Thomas Place, MS102
    Memphis, TN  38105
    Office: 901-595-7560
    Fax: 901-595-2720
    Cell: 901-493-5993

  2. It is imperative for you to read and complete this workbook cover to cover before orientation.

    Download and complete the Parent Mentor Training Workbook.


  1. Medical Teams

    Clinical staff that are on the medical team include:

    • Primary Care Teams consist of an attending physician, a nurse practitioner or physical assistant, and a nurse. Patients may also have a hematology-oncology fellow assigned to help with care. Together the care team, the patient and the family will make decisions about the patient’s care together.
    • Pharmacists can tell families how each of the patient’s medicines works. This includes antibiotics, pain medicine and chemotherapy drugs. A pharmacist is there to make sure the patient’s medicines work as well as they can, that the dose is safe for the patient, and that parents and other caregivers understand how to give medicines.
    • Genetic Counselors work with patients, siblings and parents to determine if genetic testing is needed. They also explore family histories to determine risks for other family members.
    • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) can help teach parents about the patient’s treatment and potential symptoms that may occur, how to give IV fluids or medicines outside of the hospital, how to feed through a G-tube, and wound and skin care. They can also help support parents and families as they prepare to leave the hospital and plan for successful home treatments.
    • Clinical Nutritionists can help the patient get the food and supplements that will best meet the child’s needs. A dietitian can teach parents and other caregivers how to maintain the best nutrition for the patient, keep track of the patient’s nutrition intake, and create a nutrition plan.
    • Respiratory Care staff members offer 24-hour services for patients who have breathing problems. The Respiratory Care team also cares for patients before and after surgery because surgery can sometimes lead to lung infections.
    • The Pain Management Team includes doctors, nurses, psychologists, physical therapists and pharmacists who are trained to help reduce pain in children, while watching for any side effects of pain medicine.  

    Social Work

    Patient families can call 901-595-3670 to speak with a social worker.

    The social worker can discuss services available to help the patient and family adjust to the illness and treatment. On occasion, there are certain scenarios that a referral to a social worker may be helpful, such as financial issues, parents feeling overwhelmed, a change in a custody agreement, or a change in a patient’s medical plan.

    Some of the Social Work department services include:

    • Counseling parents or guardians about dealing with the stress that illness can place on them, their work, their marriage and their families
    • Providing details about any current patient or parent support groups
    • Helping families find information about current financial resources in the community, including wish granting groups
    • Finding community agencies to address specific needs that the patient and family identify

    Spiritual Care Services

    To reach a chaplain, patient families can call 901-595-3672 or the hospital operator.

    There may be times during the patient’s illness when the patient or parents have spiritual questions. At other times, they may just need someone to listen to them or pray with them. During these times, they can call upon the staff in Chaplain Services. The chaplains are here to help patient families as spiritual friends, whatever their needs. St. Jude has a chapel on the first floor of the Patient Care Center. It is always open and is a quiet place to pray or meditate.

    Child Life

    For more information about Child Life or to contact a specific child life specialist, patient families can call 901-595-3020.

    Child Life can help patients and young family members cope with this new experience in ways that make sense to them. Child life specialists often use play, art and other fun activities as therapy. Using knowledge of the patient’s culture, environment, language and background, our child life specialists will develop a therapeutic plan. A child life specialist can also help the patient’s brothers and sisters cope with their feelings. They can support parents and guardians in talking with the patient and their siblings about serious illness and death.

    Child life specialists work with the care team and family to meet the patient’s needs including:

    • Emotional needs
    • Child development
    • Education needs related to diagnosis and treatment
    • Distraction, play and relaxation

    Psychology Department

    For more information about the Psychology staff and the services they provide, patient families can call 901-595-3581 to speak with a staff member.

    Dealing with the effects of disease can take its toll not only on a patient's emotions but also the emotions of the entire facmily. At times it may be hard to cope. St. Jude psychologists are here to help. The Psychology department can help patients and family members manage stress, discipline and behavior issues, resolve conflicts in parent-child relationships and deal with feelings of anxiety, anger, depression, fear or grief.

    The Psychology Department also provides:

    • Therapy
    • Psychological testing
    • Neuropsychological testing

    School Program

    To learn more about the School Program and the services they provide, patient families can call 901-595-3346 or they can stop by room BP099 in the hospital.

    The St. Jude School Program allows patients to continue normal educational activities and provides re-entry services to ease patients back to their community schools. The program offers several services to assist patients with their academic progress. The school program also has resources for teachers to help their students returning to school after treatment.

    Services that the School Program provides:

    • Home-bound services
    • Hospital-bound services
    • English as a Second Language services
    • Tutoring
    • ACT and SAT exams
    • School reintegration services and advocacy

    Rehabilitation Services

    If patient families are interested in learning more about Rehabilitation Services, they will need to ask the patient’s primary clinic staff for a referral.

    Rehabilitation Services at St. Jude include audiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language pathology. These services can help the patient feel more comfortable and perform everyday activites as well as possible. A rehabilitation service therapist can help the patient become more physically active, recover quicker from surgery and other procedures, and communicate by using special equipment.

    Helping Hands

    If patient families are interested in the Helping Hands service, they should ask a staff member to contact Volunteer Services.

    Helping Hands volunteers go wherever they are needed in the hospital and offer the valuable service of sitting with children whose parents need a break. Families can use this service if parents need to speak with staff members in private, siblings need care while patients are being treated, or parents or guardians need a brief break.

    Helping Hands volunteers are available:

    • Mondays and Fridays, 6 p.m.–9 p.m.
    • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
    • Saturdays and Sundays, noon–8 p.m.

    Quality of Life Service

    If patient families are interested in Quality of Life Services, they will need to ask their child’s primary clinic staff for a referral.

    A patient’s doctor may ask the St. Jude Quality of Life Service to help with treatment. This team includes doctors and nurse practitioners who have specialized training in pain and symptom management, communication, decision making, coordination of care, hospice care and bereavement.

    The Quality of Life Service staff can:

    • Support families in the process of making difficult medical choices
    • Help coordinate care with the patient’s St. Jude primary medical team and outside resources
    • Assist in the development of a plan of care that fits the family’s goals and values 
    • Assess and manage pain and other symptoms
    • Address emotional, social, and spiritual suffering related to serious illness.
    • Provide bereavement support and coordination

    Housing and Patient Services

    Patient families who are looking for more information about housing can call 901-595-4501.

    The St. Jude patient housing program is made possible by generous donors. Each facility is set up for patients and designed to be like a home for out-of-town families. Housing assignments are based on how long a patient family will be staying in Memphis and what kind of care they need. The program is designed to accommodate a family of four, which includes the patient. The St. Jude patient housing staff will work with the patient’s care team to help meet that child’s needs. If a patient has special needs, the parents or guardians should talk with the housing social worker or the patient’s assigned social worker.

    Housing Facilities include:

    • Tri Delta Place
      • On-campus housing that is reserved for those who need lodging for the first 1-7 days
      • Hotel-style lodging with two queen beds in each room.
    • Ronald McDonald House
      • Off-campus housing that is reserved for those who need lodging for 8-90 days
      • Mid-term lodging facility with two queen beds in each room, with a shared communal-style kitchen and living room areas
    • Target House
      • Off-campus housing that is reserved for those who need housing for 90 days or more
      • Long term housing facility; each apartment has two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen
    • Parcels at Concourse
      • Off-campus housing for those who need extended stay housing
      • Each apartment has two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen

    Local transportation is offered to patients and their families. Hospital shuttle buses will take patients and their families between St. Jude and the Ronald McDonald House, Target House, Tri Delta House, or their hotel. There is no charge for this service.

    Shuttle buses run a continuous loop on this schedule:

    • On-call Monday through Friday: 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
    • Sunday through Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
    • Saturday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Zipcar Rentals:

    • A car-sharing service that provides access to vehicles located in cities, airports and campuses all over the world.
    • There are vehicles available for hourly or daily use for patients and families.
    • One car is located on the St.Jude campus and the other is at Target House. Both cars are available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
    • Parents or guardians can apply online at to receive a Zipcar.

    Food services are offered to help with the cost of meals for the patient and one parent by issuing a St. Jude meal card or a grocery store gift card. A free grocery delivery service called Shipt is also available to families.

    • Meal cards can be programmed for up to seven days in a row and for a specific dollar amounts and time periods. These amounts and times depend on meals request – breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can use the meal card at the hospital cafeteria for all meals. St. Jude meal cards cannot be used off campus.
    • Grocery store gift cards are offered to patient families staying in Ronald McDonald House or Target House. Local patients and those staying in short-term lodging are not eligible for grocery store gift cards. Parents can request gift cards weekly through Patient Services, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    • Shipt is a national grocery delivery service that offers free annual grocery delivery memberships to St. Jude families. Shipt offers same-day grocery delivery from Kroger. Shipt grocery prices are a little higher than regular in-store prices due to the convenience of delivery. For more information, ask for a Shipt postcard in Patient Services.
    • Snack bags are offered free for outpatients while at St. Jude for treatment. Each snack bag contains three snack items and a beverage. A snack bag ticket can be picked up in the Patient Services office upon arrival.

    Interpreter Services

    To request an interpreter, patient families can call 901-595-2983.

    St. Jude offers 24-hour access to qualified interpreter services. During difficult times, a medical interpreter can relieve family members of the added stress of interpreting for their limited-English-speaking loved ones. St. Jude provides medical interpreters at no cost to the family. Qualified face-to-face interpreters in Spanish, French and Portuguese are available in the hospital from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. If other languages are needed, or whenever a face-to-face interpreter is not available, our 24-hour telephone service has trained over-the-phone interpreters in more than 150 languages.

    Laundry, Showers and Family Lounges

    Laundry rooms with washers and dryers are located on inpatient floors: third, fourth and fifth floors of the Kay Research and Care Center and the second floor of the Chili’s Care Center. These rooms are open 24 hours a day. St. Jude is not responsible for laundry and other items left unattended. Laundry detergent is provided free of charge. Every parent room that is connected to a patient room has a private bathroom with shower. St. Jude also offers a Family Lounge with a refrigerator, microwave oven, and coffee brewer on the second floor of the Chili’s Care Center.

    Parent Exercise Room

    The Parent Exercise Room is available to parents and caregivers 18 years and older. This room features mats for stretching and floor work, several machines for cardio and weight training, and free weights. Free workout hand towels are also provided. Before entering the Parent Exercise Room, parents and care givers must complete a liability waiver. This room is open 24 hours a day and is monitored by security for safety reasons. It is located on the plaza level of the Kay Research and Care Center, room IA-P124.  

    Concierge Services: Best Upon Request (BEST)

    If there are any questions about concierge service at St. Jude, please direct patients and their families to call (901) 595-4000.

    Using the concierge service can help a family spend more time with their child and other family members. It can also give them more time to take care of activities related to their child’s illness and medical care, such as talking with the doctor or learning to care for their child at home. Best Upon Request can be used for helping with everyday tasks, running errands and shopping, and helping plan events such as a day of sightseeing, a birthday party or any other occasion.

    The Linda R. Hajar Family Resource Center

    For more information, call 901-595-4639 or visit The Family Resource Center on the second floor of the Patient Care Center.

    At St. Jude, we believe that families are essential allies in providing the best physical and psychosocial care for their children. The Linda R. Hajar Family Resource Center is an important element in the PFCC philosophy followed at St. Jude. The Family Resource center is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide families with a quiet place with the most up-to-date and reliable information concerning the diagnosis. The center is open to both inpatient and outpatient families.

    The Family Resource Center can be used for:

    • Researching medical topics dealing with different aspects of cancer
    • Checking emails
    • Printing documents, make copies, scanning and faxing
    • Reading and checking out books for children, teens and adults, as well as books on:
      • General health and parenting
      • Coping with illness
      • Spiritual needs and education
      • Support material for caregivers
    • Reading and borrowing magazines
    • Getting documents notarized
    • Escaping the busy atmosphere of the hospital in a quiet place

    Patient Education

    For more information, call 901-595-4639 or visit The Family Resource Center on the second floor of the Patient Care Center.

    Each month, parent newsletters are released to provide information to parents about relevant information about patient events. There is also a new app called St. Jude Go for patients, families and staff. The app includes the latest campus news and events, the daily Kay Kafe menu and food trucks on campus, campus maps and floor plans as well as links to benefits information and social feeds. 

  2. The mentee is approached by a St. Jude staff member regarding a mentor. If the family accepts, the following will occur:

    • Brittany will match the mentee with the mentor that is most appropriate for that situation and the mentee’s needs.
    • Brittany will send the mentee a note translated in Spanish welcoming them to the program, introducing them to their mentor and providing their phone number. A translated mentor brochure and Brittany’s contact information will be included.
    • The mentor will be sent the match form as usual. The mentor is encouraged to contact Brittany with any questions regarding mentoring a Spanish speaking mentee.

    Mentoring by phone

    If the mentor chooses to call the mentee:

    • Dial 1-800-481-3293
    • Enter account number 501-018-098
    • Enter pin number 9876 and follow the prompts. The automated voice will say:  “To make a call to another phone number and add an additional person, say ‘Yes’ or press 1." After the interpreter greets you, give the name of the person you are calling and press “star 1.” There is a chance that the interpreter will ask for the patient’s MRN.
    • The interpreter will ask you if you would like to leave a message if the mentee does not answer. You will say yes and will want to say something like, “My name is___ and I am your mentor. I would like to find a time that you and I can speak on the phone through an interpreter. Please call or text me with a time that works best for you. My number is _____.”
    • Mentors, you can hear the interpreter and the mentee as if it was a 3-way call. Remember to speak in short, slow sentences for the interpreter. Keep in mind, the mentees have most likely been using this system quite a bit working with travel and housing.

    If the mentor would like to text their mentee

    • It is best to use the phone interpreter and talk with your mentee by phone as much as possible. However, we understand that texting is best for some mentees. If this is the case, you may use Google Translate. Please make sure to inform the mentees that you will be using Google Translate and that if something doesn’t sound right, that is why.

    Here are some common phrases.

    • “Hi, my name is ___. I am your mentor. I would like to set up a time to talk with you using an interpreter because I don’t speak Spanish. Will you text me a time that works best for you? I will be using Google Translate when texting you so please keep this in mind if I say something that does not make sense.”
      • "Hola, me llamo ______. Soy su mentor.  Quisiera fijar una hora para hablar con usted por medio de un intérprete porque no hablo español. Cuando le envie mensajes de texto, estaré usando Google Translate.  Entonces tenga esto en cuenta si escribo algo que no tiene sentido."
    • “I’ll call you (now).”
      • "Te llamo."
    • “I wanted to let you know I am thinking of you today.”
      • “Quiero decirle que está en mis pensamientos.”
    • “I am here for you if you would like to talk.”
      • "Yo estoy aquí para cuando guste platicar.”

    If your mentee chooses to contact you by a phone call without an interpreter.

    • Once you recognize it is your Spanish-speaking family calling, you can respond with “Te voy a llamar” which means “I’ll call you back”. You will then follow the steps above and use an interpreter.

    Mentoring face-to-face at St. Jude

    If the mentor chooses to meet their mentee in person, the mentor can use the video interpreter on the laptop. The cart can be found at any clinic and inpatient unit. If you are unable to locate it, please check with a staff member such as a nurse or scheduler. There is also a multi-user iPad in Brittany’s office that is available for use as well. All mentors will be trained on how to use this system by Brittany before their first encounter.

    • Touch the computer screen to begin (or use the mouse depending on the computer)
    • Choose the language (Spanish)
    • The patient’s MRN number will be requested. If you do not have this, it is ok.
    • The interpreter appears on the screen and is ready to interpret. Note – it is helpful to the live interpreter to know the possible content of the session. Examples may include: if the mentor is meeting the family for the first time, the family has just received bad news, or if the mentor is aware that there has been conflict with staff.
    • The mentor will look at the mentee while speaking, not at the device.
    • There are options on the video such as pulling the curtain to not see the interpreter or for the interpreter to not see the mentor and mentee, requesting a male or female interpreter, or requesting a different interpreter due to dissatisfaction.

    If the video interpreter is unavailable, the mentor can use the blue phone located in all clinics and inpatient floors.

    Follow the instructions located on the blue phone. A live interpreter will not be used except in special circumstances.

  3. Position Title: Parent Mentor 
    Issue Date: 2/2014; Review Date: 10/2015, 5/2016; 5/2017; 7/2018
    Objective: Serves as a PFCC adviser providing support to parents as a PAIR mentor throughout treatment, H Clinic Mentor and/or a QoL mentor once curative treatment is no longer an option.
    Hours: Hours vary greatly depending on the number of mentees enrolled. 


    • Adult parent or caregiver of a St. Jude patient.
    • Commitment of at least 1 year of service at the discretion of the PFCC staff
    • For PAIR Mentors, the patient must be at least 1 year off active therapy. For QoL Mentors, must be at least 2 years from the anniversary of the child’s death. H Clinic mentors vary in terms of treatment. See program coordinator for specifics.
    Training: Successful completion of PFCC orientation, parent mentor training, and any other on-boarding activities as requested. Completes annual PFCC and volunteer training.
    • Has an independent work initiative
    • Possesses exceptional verbal, written and interpersonal skills necessary for communication with parents, documentation of encounter forms and additional St. Jude activities
    • Has the ability to relate to and work with people of diverse age and demographic backgrounds. 
    • Can collaborate with a multi-disciplinary team
    • Possesses a sound understanding of the concepts of PFCC
    • Is skilled in organization, problem-solving, negotiation, active listening, empathy, and compassion
    • Respects and protects the confidentiality of patients, family members and employees at all times and in all circumstances
    • Is flexible and adaptable in unique and challenging situations
    • Timely and appropriate contact with the mentees enrolled in the program along with completing necessary documentation and reporting expectations
    • Be available to read and respond to St. Jude emails at least once a week
    • Potentially participate in additional St. Jude activities as a parent adviser
    • Participation in formal or informal debriefing is strongly encouraged
    • Participation in self-review