How do I know if I am ready to start mentoring others?

Jean Emans, MD
Mary Ellen Avery Professor of Pediatrics
2008 William Silen Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award

 

 

 

 

How do I know if I am ready to start mentoring others?

We actually start mentoring others in elementary school and continue throughout our lives.  Mentoring is most often informal and can be positive or deleterious to others.  You are an informal mentor daily to students or staff (e.g. research assistants) in your clinic or lab when you help with projects, give feedback on bedside care, or precept a student in an ambulatory clinic.  Your approaches, your respect for patients, your interactions with families and peers are part of the “hidden curriculum,” and thus self-reflection of messages conveyed is essential for teachers and mentors.  Formal mentoring begins when you are assigned a mentee or are sought out for your expertise or collaboration on projects.  Ask yourself: Do peers and junior colleagues already seek you out for advice and encouragement? This signals that you have the ability to listen, provide appropriate feedback, and respect confidentiality. Do you feel that you have grown from your own experience as a mentee and want to pass on what you have learned?  Mentoring takes careful preparation and planning of your role, and our Office of Faculty Development at Children’s has created guidelines and structured questions to ensure a positive experience for you and your mentee.

 

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