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3 Priorities for Successful Healthcare Mentor/Mentee Relationships

By Traci Hanlon MN, RN, Consultant at Creative Healthcare Management 

Mentoring Matters: Part II

In Mentoring Matters: Part I, I defined the mentor/mentee relationship as a reciprocal and collaborative relationship that sets out to assist the mentee with his or her professional development by defining goals, actions, and behaviors that will ultimately help the mentee be successful.

This partnership is not always an intuitive process and is best served if both mentor and mentee establish a few clearly articulated goals early on in the mentoring relationship.

Three Goals for Successful Mentoring Relationships

  1. Define both what the mentee would like to professionally accomplish and what the mentor’s role will be in assisting the mentee. Some mentee’s will come to the relationship with a concrete idea of how the mentor can guide them. Sometimes the mentor will need to help the mentee discover what is professionally most significant to them or what areas they need assistance with. Knowing this up front will help both the mentee and the mentor be prepared to discuss how they will use their time together and what is expected of each as they work towards the mentee’s goals.
  2. Formalize your goals by writing them out. Use them as a starting point for each mentoring session. Make sure goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
  3. Develop an actionable timeline for goals that articulate what the mentee and mentor are supposed to do by when, and update the timeline as needed during each mentoring session.

Getting the Most Out of Mentoring Relationships

Mentoring sessions focused using these three guidelines will assist both mentors and mentees in using their time effectively to get the most out of the relationship. However, there may be times when the mentee needs something that is not articulated in the plan, such as emotional support or just a listening ear. This is a perfectly acceptable part of the mentor/mentee relationship and the mentor should be flexible to accommodate such needs. Getting back on track and focused on the mentee’s goals will be easier with an established and agreed upon action plan.

In Mentoring Matters: Part III, I will discuss how to set your mentee up for success during your initial mentoring session. We will explore how to establish safety in the first mentoring session by discussing the “what if’s” in a mentoring relationship.

Traci Hanlon MN, RN is a consultant with Creative Healthcare Management and specializes in preceptor, nursing orientation, and transition to practice program development.

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