Background Mentoring is a key tool for personal and professional development, with a range of benefits described for and by mentees, mentors and their organisations1.
Recently many peer-mentorship programmes have been developed both within paediatrics and as cross-specialty support throughout the UK2. Within Northern Ireland a paediatric peer mentoring programme commenced in 2014, linking new ST1 trainees with senior trainees at level ST4–8.
Aims To review trainee engagement throughout the NI paediatric mentorship programme, in response to various interventions and adjustments.
Method Throughout the first two years of the paediatric mentorship programme, online questionnaires and focus groups were conducted to assess engagement and satisfaction with the programme. In response to feedback after the first year, various changes to the programme were implemented, including setting minimum numbers of contacts, introducing e-diaries to record meetings, an induction evening for mentees, signposting training and changing from mandatory to voluntary mentee recruitment.
Results Within the 2014–2015 year of the programme, there were low levels of engagement with forty five percent of mentors never meeting with their mentee, and only ten percent meeting more than once. After changes were made to the programme, levels of engagement improved well in the second year with sixty two percent of respondents meeting three or more times. Overall, ninety two percent found the mentorship programme beneficial, and only one person did not want to be involved in future.
Conclusion With many new peer mentorship schemes being developed, quality improvement measures need to be implemented to support trainee engagement within these schemes. We have found that small changes to the programme structure have improved trainee engagement. However more areas still need to be developed, and only with continuing adaptation will we be able to help our trainees get the most out of mentorship.
Department of Health (2004) ‘Mentoring for doctors: signposts to current practice for career grade doctors’.
RCPCH: Mentoring Support. Available at: http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/training-examinations-professional-development/careers/career-development/mentoring-support/ Accessed September 2016
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