The Roadmap To A Successful Mentorship
In a learning environment, mentorship provides valuable support and empowers the community. Developing significant connections with peers, staff and faculty improves their synergy, and this is the first step toward a successful mentorship. Mentor-mentee relationships enable mentors to better understand the mentee’s aspirations, worries, as well as providing support in the best interests of the mentee.
Choosing A Mentor
There are several qualities that students or mentees will look for in a mentor, one of which is finding someone with similar professional interests so that mentors can best advise them throughout studies and personal lives. Mentors with similar personal interests and values have an advantage. This will enable mentees to share their thoughts and ideas while maintaining a healthy balance of study and personal time.
When choosing a potential mentor, it is best to assess whether or not they have the time to mentor effectively. It will be difficult for mentors to connect with mentees and maintain a mentoring relationship if they are always busy. Being able to spend quality time with mentors will help mentees express their ideas and become more compatible on a personal level.
A mentor should be a powerful sounding board, an encouraging force, and a swift kick to get their mentees in gear, but also a patient leader who leads with empathy and sensitivity. If mentees are feeling down or struggling emotionally, they should be able to seek motivation from their mentors. Above all, mentors should always strive to eliminate prejudice.
According to Dr. Madihah, Dean of Biomedical Sciences at Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed), a good mentor and tutor should be approachable, have good personalities, and be trustworthy enough for the students to share their worries. Tutors should be able to advise students to find their potential and overcome obstacles with some guidance.
Nurturing Successful Mentorship
There are various activities that can help university students with their mentor-mentee relationship, beginning with the creation of a mentoring plan, which allows both parties to describe their expectations and ensure that they are in line with their aims and intents. Mentors and mentees can also discuss current issues, which could lead to TED Talks among students. These talks will help students gain confidence while learning, which will aid in the development of their soft skills.
Dr. Madihah stated that at university level, the Dean of Student Affairs provides academic skills and training, as well as academic consultation. NUMed also assists students with medical appointments for their mental and physical health, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and online learning.
“Believe us when we say, ‘the struggle you are in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow’. We are confident that you will learn from this experience to improve your survival skills and patience”, Dr. Madihah said when asked about her advice to NUMed students.
In addition, Dr. Sarah Nufable, NUMed’s Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs (MBBS), shared that the university hosts regular meetings for mentors and mentees, and encourages the mentors to pick up red flags of non-coping with the system by monitoring e-portfolio accomplishments of the mentees.
Dr. Madihah added that a Student Support Plan (SSP) is normally drafted to assist students with chronic or long-term issues so adjustment could be made during various occasions, for example to get some extension or break time during the assessment or during the final examinations.
“Medical school, like other university courses and life in general, is challenging. With the passage of time, the challenge will get increasingly tough. However, help is available, and students must seek it when necessary,” Dr. Nufable highlighted. She added that NUMed believes greatness is achieved with support, inspiration and empowerment, and that it aims to promote career success to students through experience-based mentorship.