What is mentorship?

What is mentorship?

Mentoring is a process whereby an experienced, highly regarded, empathic person (mentor), guides another often junior or younger individual (mentee) in the development and re- examination of their own ideas, learning and personal or professional development. RL Bryyny describes a mentor as “a counsel entrusted to guide the professional development of an individual.”

What is the value of mentoring?

Mentorship can be extremely valuable at every stage of one’s professional career. Early-career professionals benefit from the opportunity to share professional ideas with colleagues, particularly those with a longer experience with professional and life experience. The older colleague or mentor, additionally, benefits from the interchange. FC Wilson defines mentorship ‘‘as a relationship, whether formal and/or informal, between a novice and one or more senior persons in the field for the purposes of career and personal development and preparation for leadership.2 Hill expressed the goal of mentoring as ‘‘providing a young aspiring professional with a tangible and immediate role model.’’

What is the value of mentorship in professional development?

Research has shown that 96% of residents thought that mentorship was either critical or beneficial to their training. In a systematic review of medical literature, Sambunjak et al. noted the substantial impact of mentorship on personal development, career guidance, career choice, and research productivity. Mentoring also has a potential benefit in improving diversity in the workforce.  Mutual trust, respect and communication are important elements for a successful mentoring relationship. The relationship focuses on achievement or acquisition of knowledge and professional behaviour. It consists of emotional and psychological support, direct assistance with career and professional development, and role modeling. The relationship involves direct interaction and is personal in nature. It requires the use of a variety of strategies associated with teaching, coaching or counselling to support the mentee. The mentor also adapts their techniques and functions based on the needs of the mentee.

How does the School of Clinical Medicine support its with mentoring?

The School is currently implementing a formal mentorship program to support its staff, particularly its early career academics but inclusive of the professional service staff as well. Through a mentoring program, mentees gain professional and personal development by having a role model and being able to work through issues in a non-threatening environment. Mentors are provided with an opportunity to share their experiences, give back to the profession, develop a greater understanding of other cultures, develop self-awareness and may be exposed to new approaches and literature.

Aspects of mentoring include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisting in ethical decision making or in areas of life when people are facing choices
  • Career progression
  • Working relationships with colleagues
  • Providing advice on patient matters and clinical care
  • Academic development, research and scholarly projects


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