Mentor was a wise and faithful friend of Ulysses (Odysseus). When Ulysses departed for Troy he entrusted his infant son, Telemachus, to Mentor. Mentor was responsible for the child’s education, character shaping and instilling of values.
A mentor is an active partner in an ongoing relationship who helps a mentee maximize their potential and reach personal and professional goals. Research in law, business and nursing has shown mentoring leads to a higher level of career satisfaction and a higher rate of promotion, with a greater effect if it begins early in a person’s career.
Since 2003, Public Health & Preventive Medicine (formerly Community Medicine) has had a formal mentorship program whereby each resident is paired with a faculty member. In general, response to the program has been strong as measured by a yearly evaluation process. There has been a range of experiences: some mentor/mentee pairs have had significant contact, and others have taken a more casual approach.
In order to ensure that each mentor and mentee has the opportunity to get the most out of the mentorship program, we have chosen to adopt a multi-level mentorship model. This model, based in part on the UBC’s Tri-Mentorship Program, maintains the mentor/mentee pairing between faculty and residents, but adds a connection between senior residents and junior residents. Each new resident will be paired with a faculty mentor, but also with a senior resident. The main purpose of multi-level mentorship is to help residents learn from each other about how they can make the most of the opportunity that mentorship provides. The responsibilities of mentors and mentees are described below. In addition, senior residents are responsible for ensuring that junior residents are able to engage in their mentorship, and share ideas about what sort of benefits the mentorship can offer.
The mentor contributes to developing the next generation of community medicine physicians and helps residents prepare for their future career. Mentors use their knowledge and wisdom to guide a less experienced colleague by:
- Establishing a long-term active relationship
- Supporting, inspiring and investing time and energy on mentee
- Serving as an advocate, confidante, guide and coach
- All members of External Residency Committee and faculty will be asked about interest in being a mentor.
- We require people who are enthusiastic, who have sufficient time to give and a commitment of at least 1 year.
- All residents will be allocated a mentor.
- Residents will be asked for preferences regarding gender of their mentor, specific interests, etc.
- Pairing of mentors and mentees will take personal and professional (research, teaching, practice) interests into consideration.
- Each mentor will have no more than one mentee at any given time.
- Each junior resident will be paired with a senior resident mentor.
- Guidelines and expectations of roles are set.
- The Program Director will discuss the mentorship pairing with each mentee and mentor after an initial 6-month period and annually at the resident's annual review.
- The program will support a change if either requests it, or it is felt beneficial.
- Make contact and meet face to face with the mentee by the end of first month (especially important for new residents).
- Take the mentee for a meal (at home or out to dinner) within 3 months of arrival.
- Maintain regular contact and meet in person.
- Be aware of the mentee's progress through the Public Health & Preventive Medicine program.
- If a conflict arises, provide the mentee with support, and if appropriate, act as an advocate at the Residency Committee level.
- Introduce the mentee to opportunities about which they may not be aware.
- Help the mentee build a professional network in the Public Health community by introducing them to colleagues and connecting them with contact information when appropriate.
- Offer to provide advice on career plans and goals.
- Focus advice and counsel on the mentee's goals, not the mentor's goals.
- Be wary of taking credit for the mentee's work.
- The relationship is reciprocal‚ appreciate your mentee.
- Arrange for the junior resident to meet with their mentor within their first month in the program.
- Ensure that the junior resident meets with their mentor on a regular basis.
- Give tips on how to engage the mentor, and on what the mentor can offer.
- Be a resource for the junior resident for such things as logistical and program-related questions, and advice on courses and rotations.
- Clarify YOUR needs.
- Be proactive, don’t always wait for your mentor to call you.
- Recognize what mentors can do – i.e., give sound advice, be a sounding board, expand your opportunities and help you survive crisis but they can’t guarantee publications, make research proceed flawlessly, etc.
- Be responsive to your mentor’s suggestions.
- Be respectful of your mentor’s time – be punctual, give them appropriate time to review your work.
- Recognize time limits of the duration of the relationship.
- The relationship is reciprocal – appreciate your mentor.