Cultural Change and Training
There is an increasing recognition within the medical profession of the importance of mentoring, both at postgraduate education level and at career level. The benefits of mentoring are evidence based, and a large amount of research exists.
It is recognised that, traditionally, the use of a mentoring scheme might have been deemed as a sign of weakness in the doctor accessing the service. The College, postgraduate deaneries, DH, BMA and the profession are seeking to overcome these prejudices and encourage doctors at any stage of their career to access local mentoring schemes if they are available.
There is debate as to whether formal training for either/both mentor and mentee is beneficial. Some may consider that the formality of training and appointing mentors may hinder the development of informal networks or 'co-mentoring'.
However, there is also evidence to suggest that training for mentors and mentees adds value to the relationship, helps to identify and define aims and objectives and contributes to the overall success of the scheme.
Training can help both parties to understand their respective roles, and to develop the necessary skills to maintain a successful mentoring relationship. Training also helps in grounding the 'rules of engagement' - understanding boundaries and managing expectations.