Mentorship in the health professions: a review.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

The importance of mentorship within health care training is well recognised. It offers a means to further enhance workforce performance and engagement, promote learning opportunities and encourage multidisciplinary collaboration. There are both career and life benefits associated with mentorship, and it is increasingly recognised as a bidirectional process that benefits both mentors and mentees. Recently, mentoring has been considered an essential step in professional and personal development, particularly in the field of health care.

LITERATURE

This article provides a review of the recent literature to assist those considering the implementation of mentorship programmes within their institutions. Discussion includes topics relating to the key elements of effective mentorship, the various phases and styles of mentorship, the need for career-long mentoring, ethical issues and potential difficulties in mentorship.

TAKE-HOME MESSAGE

Learning within the workplace includes the development of knowledge and skills, and an understanding of the values important to the profession and the culture of organisations. Within health care training, organisations may encompass hospitals, universities, training organisations and regulatory bodies. The practice of mentorship may help to foster an understanding of the enduring elements of practice within these organisations. Mentoring involves both a coaching and an educational role, requiring a generosity of time, empathy, a willingness to share knowledge and skills, and an enthusiasm for teaching and the success of others. Being mentored is believed to have an important influence on personal development, career guidance and career choice. Ethical issues and potential difficulties in mentorship include conflict of interest, imbalance of power and unrealistic expectations.

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