Mentoring

The Standing Committee on Post-Graduate Medical Education defines mentoring as ‘the process whereby an experienced, empathic individual guides another individual in the development and re-examination of their own ideas, learning, and personal and professional development’ (SCOPME 1998). It goes on to say ‘the mentor….achieves this by listening and talking in confidence to the mentee’.

Recognising that mentorship is a personal, development relationship where a more experienced and knowledgeable person helps a less experienced or knowledgeable person, all new Core Trainees joining the Maudsley Training programme are offered a mentor in a peer-led scheme where mentors are CT volunteers with at least 1 years experience who offer to meet up once a fortnight for a period of 6 months with an option to extend this to 1 year.

Experienced CTs who want to be mentors, almost all of whom will have been mentored themselves, volunteer to take on a mentee after attending a training session in the fundamentals of mentoring and receive regular supervision from the scheme organisers.

The most commonly discussed topics during mentor sessions include (a) clinical support, including dealing with difficult and violent patients; managing clinical uncertainty; managing risk, clinical workload and overload and prioritising time according to clinical need; (b) dynamics with colleagues (c) where to go for help if having difficulties; (d) managing on-calls; (e) advise on post allocation; (f) research options and approaching a supervisor; (g) exam preparation; (h) gaining psychotherapy experience (taking on patients, arranging supervision, arranging your own psychotherapy).

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Mentors are bound by GMC guidelines about confidentiality i.e. anything that is discussed in a mentoring relationship remains confidential unless there is a significant risk to someone’s health. The scheme is run completely independently of any form of trainee appraisal or evaluation and the sub-Deans (although kept aware of the scheme’s general progress) are not involved in the day-to-day running of the scheme.

Trainees are encouraged to volunteer themselves to become mentors as this will assist them to develop competencies in both clinical and educational supervision, needed for future careers as clinical or academic Consultant Psychiatrist.












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