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Developing senior doctors as mentors: a form of continuing professional development. Report of an initiative to develop a network of senior doctors as mentors: 1994–99

Authors


Connor Head of Individual and Organisation Development Studies, University College of Ripon and York St John, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York YO30 7EX, UK

Abstract

Background

Senior doctors report that mentoring skills are transferable to everyday medical practice and managing juniors. An analysis of views from consultants and general practitioners, who had trained together on a regional mentoring scheme, reveals significant potential for personal and professional development in such networks.

Context

The Northern and Yorkshire Region Doctors’ Development and Mentoring Network was set up in 1994. Since then there have been six programmes with 116 senior doctors participating. In 1997 there was an evaluation of the first four programmes.

Method

Focus groups and postal questionnaire.

Results

There were responses from 71 senior doctors, giving a response rate of 86%, and responses from 78 professional stakeholders in 49 NHS organizations, a response rate of 54%. Results indicate that the programmes were highly valued by the participants, particularly with regard to: being part of a network of senior doctors; developing mentoring skills, and engaging in personal and professional development. The most difficult part of the programme was setting up mentoring networks for junior doctors, and reasons included: personal factors, such as levels of confidence in providing mentoring; cultural factors, such as juniors not wishing to be seen to need help, and organizational factors, such as lack of time allocated for mentoring.

Recommendations and issues for further debate

The positive benefits from the scheme raise questions about how to develop mentoring training for senior doctors. Issues include: developing mentors; who needs mentoring; mentoring and the organization; transferability of mentoring skills, and widening the network.

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