According to a recent MGMA Stat poll, 60% of health care organizations offer an onboarding/mentorship program for new health care professionals.1 This process involves the transfer of knowledge from one clinician to another.2 While this premise sounds straightforward, it is more nuanced.
Wound care professionals may struggle to meet the ever-increasing needs of patients while they focus on learning new technologies or knowledge in a rapidly evolving field.2 Mentorship programs allow for easier knowledge transfer to speed up the learning process.
What Role Does Mentorship Play in Health Care?
A mentor is often confused with other terms, such as a role model, advisor, or preceptor. While these terms often describe a similar relationship, they are not the same as a mentor. Unlike a preceptorship, which orients individuals to a work environment through teaching and clinical evaluation, mentorship is a collaborative effort intended to support a clinician's professional and personal development.3 Mentors are also different from advisors, who primarily provide knowledge and monitor progress since mentors often play the role of teacher, guide, and advocate.4 Mentorships often benefit both parties and can be either formal or informal.1
The Benefits of Mentorships
Mentorship programs provide a venue for new clinicians to ask questions, making the transition from trainee to clinician much easier.1 The benefits of mentorship programs for the mentee include1,3:
- The ability to ask questions or seek guidance without feeling intimidated. This comfortability often improves mentee's skills, confidence, communication skills, and appreciation for new or diverse perspectives.
- Learning curves may be shortened for newly hired staff, as they can get direct knowledge from the mentor.
- Recognition of career goals and subsequent development of a plan to achieve these goals.
Mentorships are also beneficial for mentors. Among the benefits to mentors are3:
- Sharing the skills and knowledge developed throughout the mentor's career.
- Involvement in empowering future professionals in wound care.
- Exposure to fresh perspectives and new ideas.
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How Mentorships Enhance Practice Management in Wound Care
As a field which consists of thousands of clinicians, the mentor relationship is vital in the field of wound care. While mentorship programs are extremely beneficial, particularly to employee satisfaction and retention, there is a high degree of variability across these programs in clinical settings. This variability may be found in the level of formality of the program, the frequency of meetings, and the structure of mentorship. However, it is still found that despite the variability, mentored faculty are found to spend more time on research and are more likely to obtain grants, in addition to the positive effects on retention and scholarship, career satisfaction, and personal development.5
Within wound care, it has been found that mentored wound care specialists perform better with surgical dressings. Mentorship programs may also enhance clinical practice and improve patients' clinical outcomes.6,7
Components of a Mentorship Program
While mentorships can be informal or formal, the most successful programs build in accountability for both the mentor and the mentee. This accountability usually includes the following components1:
- An organized method for assigning mentors, such as an annual mentor rotation. The assignments should occur regularly.
- Well-defined goals, along with plans that detail the actions required to meet the goals.
- Accountability allows the program participants to reflect on experiences through self-assessments or peer assessments for both the mentor and mentee.
Mentorship programs with these key elements can contribute to the development of more knowledgeable and skilled clinicians who may become mentors in the future.
Health care facilities often see quantifiable benefits when mentorship programs are in place, such as increased productivity and reduced organizational risk due to longer periods of provider observation.1 These programs can contribute to an organizational culture that emphasizes continuous learning, sharing, and collaboration. With many benefits for the mentors, the mentees, and the organization, these programs can contribute to better practice management.
- Gordon S. Steps to building a formal mentorship program. Medical Group Management Association. October 23, 2019. Accessed October 6, 2022. https://www.mgma.com/data/data-stories/steps-to-building-a-formal-mentor...
- Milne C. Mentoring in wound care: Step up for the next generation. WoundSource. August 9, 2019. Accessed October 6, 2022. https://www.woundsource.com/blog/mentoring-in-wound-care-step-next-gener...
- Meeker Z. The benefit of mentorship in wound care. Wound Care Education Institute. August 16, 2022. Accessed October 6, 2022. https://blog.wcei.net/benefit-mentorship-in-wound-care
- College of Medicine Tuscon. Mentoring: Guiding principles for mentors. University of Arizona Health Sciences. Accessed October 17, 2022. https://deptmedicine.arizona.edu/mentoring-guiding-principles-mentors
- Kibbe MR, Pellegrini CA, Townsend Jr CM, Helenowski IB, Patti MG. Characterization of mentorship programs in departments of surgery in the United States. JAMA Surg. Accessed October 21, 2022. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/304664212.pdf
- Fard ZR, Azadi A, Khorshidi A, et al. A comparison of faculty led, mentorship program and peer mentoring on nursing students wound dressing clinical skills. Nurse Educ Today. 2020;89:104378. doi:10.1016/j.nedt.2020.104378
- Kusterbeck M. A concept analysis of mentorship. Conference Abstract presented at: Sigma Theta Tau International Society of Nurses 45th Biennial Convention; November 16-19, 2019; Washington, DC. Accessed October 21, 2022. https://sigma.nursingrepository.org/bitstream/handle/10755/19060/Kusterb...
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, HMP Global, its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.