Mentors for Doctors

Medicine is a highly sought-after profession in India. Students work hard for years together to get into a medical college but once they finish their degree, they quite often find themselves at sea. Especially in a country like India, young doctors find the going tough and have a challenging time understanding what is expected of them.

It is in situations like these that having a mentor would benefit young doctors immensely – someone who has been through the grind, someone who is experienced enough to guide them wisely and who, when the going gets tough, is around to give that slight but essential push and support.

Medicine is a challenging but rewarding field and doctors need that extra support which only other doctors can give. However, mentorship is not a one-way relationship which benefits the mentee alone. It has a lot to offer the mentor too and the organization and society as a whole.

Mentorship Benefits All

Medical students too can benefit from mentorship. In fact, at any stage of a medical career, having a mentor is valuable.

  • While everyone benefits from having a mentor, women and minority communities benefit even more.
  • Mentorship promotes an inclusive work place culture and the mentees find it easier to adapt and are as a result happier.
  • With happy employees, the burnout due to the demanding nature of work involved with medicine reduces.
  • The quality of work improves and the patients benefit from it.
  • The medical field is not one in which a person works as a separate entity – it almost always involves teamwork and mentorship plays a key role in improving relationships and ensuring better teamwork.
  • A person with a mentor is also less stressed, knowing that he has someone to talk to, get advice from and rely on.

How a Mentee Benefits

A mentee, especially one who is a first-generation doctor, might take some time to adapt to a work setting. Having a mentor will help him understand the ropes and will ease him into the organization.

  • A person with a mentor feels more confident and at ease.
  • He benefits from his mentor’s knowledge as well as experience.
  • The mentee will also get a different perspective on issues; this will widen his view on how to handle and solve problems.
  • The mentor can also aid in career advancement by helping the mentee find his passion.
  • Feedback from the mentor can help make the mentee a better doctor.
  • The obvious benefit is that the mentor will undoubtedly feel good about helping out someone in need. But the benefits of mentoring go beyond this.
  • The mentor learns how to improve his leadership skills.
  • Listening and understanding the issues faced by the current generation of young doctors can give the mentor a new outlook.
  • Communication skills improve as feedback is delivered in a positive and acceptable manner.
  • Mentoring is a challenging role for the mentor too and helps push the boundaries in terms of new ideas and solutions.

Mentor Qualities

Good doctors do not necessarily translate to good mentors. To be a good mentor, one must possess the following attributes:

  • Be a Good Listener – The mentor should have a good understanding of whatever it is that the mentee needs help with. He should listen and understand all aspects of the situation before offering a solution.
  • Have an Open Mind and Should Not Judge the Mentee – The mentee and the mentor are two different individuals. The mentor should understand this and find ways to promote the mentee’s growth rather than model him as a version of himself.
  • Have Enough Time to Devote to the Mentee – Doctors are busy individuals and mentorship is a long-term relationship. Whether they actually have the time to be a mentor is up to the individual doctor.
  • Are Enthusiastic About Being Mentors – Enthusiasm is definitely infectious and shows involvement too. A doctor who has mentorship thrust on him will not make a great mentor.
  • Be Flexible in Approach–The mentor should understand that his way of dealing with an issue is not the only way and that the mentee’s comfort level also has to be taken into account.
  • Should Maintain Confidentiality – Confidentiality forms the basis for trust and is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship.
  • Should Give the Role of a Mentor the Importance It Deserves – Mentorship is not something to be taken lightly. After all, the mentee is placing his trust in the mentor and the mentor should respect that and take his role seriously.
  • Should Help Motivate Youngsters–Mentors should motivate their juniors to keep going, especially when the going gets tough. A word of encouragement from a senior person will definitely be a morale booster in difficult times.

What Is Expected from a Mentee?

  • Respect Your Mentor –The mentor has the mentee’s well-being at heart and has actually taken time out of his schedule to be there. Respect his time by being well-prepared for a meeting; have a mental list of any doubts or questions so that valuable time is not wasted.
  • Do the Hard Work – The mentor can only guide the mentee; it is up to the mentee to implement the mentor’s suggestions.
  • Have an Honest, Communicative Relationship – If things are not going as planned, the mentee should communicate his feelings to the mentor clearly so that the issue can be dealt with and not swept under the carpet.
  • Be Ready for Challenges – A mentor will be pushy when the need arises – be accepting of it as sometimes that extra push is needed to realize one’s true potential.
  • Should Be Eager to Learn – A mentor who has an eager and dynamic mentee will automatically become more involved himself and will be able to help better.
  • Show Gratitude – Thanking the mentor is essential to let the mentor know his efforts are appreciated.

Mentorship can help young upcoming doctors immensely. A good mentorship will not just help a young doctor overcome initial obstacles, it will go on to have a ripple effect, where in the long run, other doctors, patients and society as a whole will benefit.