Mentorship is one of the cornerstones of all successful medical practices and their teams – that’s both having a mentor and being one.
The sharing of wisdom, guidance and knowhow from one generation to another builds foundations in a medical practice like nothing else.
It develops relationships, trust and a sense of belonging that is impossible to fabricate.
Be assured, every thriving practice where staff speak glowingly of the ‘fantastic culture’ has a successful mentor program in place, be it overt or subtle.
And there is arguably no vocation where mentoring is more important than the health and medical sectors.
Mentoring is the opportunity to share expertise, encouragement and offer constructive feedback between senior and junior doctors.
The best mentorships evolve organically between colleagues.
If that hasn’t happened yet for you, start building relationships with as many of your peers as possible in an effort to learn as much as you can.
Mentorships may also be arranged in the clinic or hospital or even via external mentoring programs within the profession.
The most successful mentorships involve regular open, honest and respectful communication between the parties.
They will be driven by the mentee seeking advice in any and every facet of what it takes to become a better doctor.
So what qualities should you be looking for when seeking out a mentor?
Experience and knowledge
It seems obvious but you’ll want to find a mentor who works in a similar field.
While there are many lessons an experienced paediatrician may share with a young, budding oncologist, the day will soon come where the mentor won’t have the answer to the mentee’s question.
Ideally, look for another GP around 10 years your senior – much more than that and the generation gap may present challenges.
In addition, medicine changes so rapidly that some of your mentor’s insights may be obsolete.
Enthusiasm and willingness
Some people make great mentors – others not so much. It boils down to personality types.
You need to find someone with that engaging presence and a willingness and desire to share their life’s leanings.
You don’t want someone who is doing it begrudgingly or out of a sense of obligation.
Pride and joy
There’s no money in mentoring – rather, it’s a love of helping others and sharing in their successes that drives great mentors.
They will take pride and joy in seeing the seeds they sow bare fruit as you advance your career.
They will love watching you become a better doctor and even a better and happier person.
It’s a two-way street and just as you must surely respect your mentor, equally, they must be patient and respect you.
You don’t want a mentor with a short fuse or one that overly criticises you, either to your face or behind your back.
Honesty and frankness
While you need respect, you also need honesty and someone who is prepared to tell you like it is.
It won’t do having a mentor who can’t look you in the eye and tell you when they think you have made a mistake for fear of hurting your feelings.
Direct and honest feedback is an absolute must from a valuable mentor.
A good listener
Most good doctors are good listeners but in terms of having a mentor, this is another non-negotiable.
They need to be able to listen to your concerns and challenges to fully appreciate your position before offering sage advice.
A bombastic mentor who bulldozes over the top of you, telling you how to do something without first listening is not the answer.
You need someone who can put themselves in your shoes and react accordingly.
A great mentor is probably more like you than you realise.
That’s because they too will be motivated to learn as much as possible and become the best doctor they can be.
Chances are, they have a mentor of their own, in their insatiable quest for knowledge, pursuing and achieving goals in their field.
When canvassing a potential mentor, ask them what they would like to accomplish in the remainder of their career.
You will soon learn whether you are like-minded creatures.
Apply now to work at AHA
Everyone needs a mentor at some stage in their career. Even experienced GPs benefit from a fresh perspective from an older and wiser head.
Having a mentor can offer up new ideas and open up new networks and opportunities.
It also helps you develop relationship skills which are so vital in dealing with patients.
AHA Clinics encourages personal development and growth and provides training and mentoring for doctors of all ages who wish to progress their careers.
We especially love helping junior medical professionals find their feet with a specially tailored support structure to ensure they thrive.
We pride ourselves on our family-orientated, inclusive culture that supports you both professionally and personally.
And we place a high priority on work-life balance.
You’ll be able to see as many patients as you choose before soaking up all the benefits the glorious coast lifestyle has to offer.
Our two clinics at Seaford and Seaford Meadows are purpose built, state-of-the-art facilities.
They utilise natural light and make coming to work here an absolute dream.
If this sounds attractive to you, please get in touch.
We’d love to hear from you.
Our AHA leadership team will contact you soon to arrange a no obligation discussion.