Context We developed a mentorship scheme for new paediatric doctors (Specialty Training Level 1) in our deanery. Mentoring is “a process of helping, supporting and encouraging paediatricians to develop their skills and to maximise their potential performance”.1 The deanery is responsible for training 150 paediatric doctors across seven hospital trusts.
Specific problem Maintaining focus on a paediatric trainee’s individual career interests can be challenging in light of higher clinical workload, staffing shortages and increasing requirement for continuous standardised assessments.
Assessment of problem Paediatric services require large-scale transitions in the context of increasing workload pressures coupled to huge economic limitation.2 It is essential the workforce approaches these changes in a positive, motivated way.
Mentoring is well-established throughout different industries and organisations. It is a cost-effective, powerful personal development tool that encourages, supports and guides trainees in their individual goals. We anticipate this will benefit all parties:
Junior trainees can readily access a friendly, reliable and supportive mentor with good working knowledge of the deanery, helpful contacts and experience of taking projects forward
Senior trainees will improve mentoring, coaching and supervisory skills through a formal training course and develop these through practical application
Patients and colleagues will benefit from motivated and enthusiastic trainees whose own educational and training needs are being considered
A recent study from the London Paediatric Deanery3 highlighted “a high demand for peer mentoring in paediatrics”. Their programme was highly valued by participants, who gained “significant benefits including acquisition of transferable skills and positive changes in behaviour”.
Intervention We arranged a mentor training day for senior trainees from the region (ST4-ST8). A full-day workshop was organised, and fully funded, by the Southwest Leadership Academy. Twelve trainees wished to provide mentoring and were able to attend the course, many others registered their interest for future workshops. Delivered content included an introduction to the mentor role, approaches to effective mentoring, mentoring models, and contracting a mentor relationship.
An interactive session followed to discuss how the mentoring programme should be developed. We produced a mentor handbook with further information on the mentor role and detail regarding the programme.
We received excellent written feedback from the day (all trainees would recommend the workshop to colleagues).
Programme design Trainees who successfully completed the mentor workshop were asked to write a 250-word statement about themselves (11/12 completed, one withdrew for maternity leave). We did not provide further guidance on statement structure or content as we wished to promote individuality and personality.
We delivered a presentation at the ST1 induction day to advertise the scheme. We received very positive feedback, all ST1 trainees (14/14) wished to participate.
We asked mentees to review all statements and rank them in order of preference. We were able to match all mentees to one of their “top-three” preferred mentors.
We have arranged an evening for all participants to meet together. Following this, mentor-mentee pairs will meet 2–3 monthly. We anticipate that mentor relationships will continue throughout the ST1–3 period.
Evaluation Feedback will be collected quarterly to evaluate the programme and guide future development. We aim to establish a successful rolling programme that offers effective mentoring to all future ST1 trainees starting in the deanery.
Acknowledgements We benefitted from the experiences of Sarah Eisen and Seema Sukhani, who developed a mentor scheme in the London Deanery. We are grateful for their support and guidance.
Mentoring and clinical supervision for paediatricians. Paediatrician’s Handbook, Chapter 4.6, RCPCH, 2013
RCPCH. Facing the future – A review of paediatric services. April 2011
Eisen S, Sukhani S, Brightwell A, Stoneham S, Long A. Peer mentoring: evaluation of a novel programme in paediatrics. Arch Dis Child 2014;99:142–146, doi:10.1136/archdischild-2013-304277
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