27 October is National Mentoring Day, a day to celebrate the benefits of mentoring and to thank mentors for their support.
Mentoring is a great personal development tool, both for mentees and mentors. The College has several mentoring schemes, including one run by the Faculty of Medicine. The scheme is open to anyone within the Faculty of Medicine, at any point of their career.
Mentoring is a fantastic opportunity to give something back through sharing knowledge and experience to facilitate the development of another member of staff. Mentoring can improve confidence, enhance inter-personal skills, enrich management styles and increase awareness of the challenges faced by more junior staff. It is a chance to make a contribution to someone’s success, which is also extremely rewarding for the mentor.
Why be mentored?
We have a fantastic pool of trained mentors with a wide range of different knowledge and experience. Mentees decide what it is that they would like to focus on and they are then matched with a mentor who is best placed to guide them in these areas. This may be career advancement, transitioning from postdoc to PI, managing health problems at work or maintaining a good family/work balance. Mentoring can help increase confidence and motivation, provide a new perspective or challenge a way of thinking. A mentor can help to assess skills and provide support and feedback to help the mentee overcome challenges or assist with problem solving. Mentors can also help with career planning and setting both long and short term goals.
What do our current mentees and mentors think?
One mentoring pair, Dr Saira Hameed and Dr Jasmini Alagaratnam, shared their thoughts on the scheme:
“I wanted to give something back and help talented, upcoming women to realise all of their potential. No two journeys are the same but some of the lived experience in academia and clinical work is broadly applicable. I wanted to share the ‘why did no one tell me that’ know-how that I’ve acquired with the clinical academics of the future.” – Dr Saira Hameed (mentor)
“My experience of the scheme has been very positive – it’s been so inspiring to meet someone who has gone down this path before (academia and clinical training), whilst balancing family life. Even though our areas are very different, the obstacles and challenges I’m facing are very familiar to Saira, and it’s so helpful to hear tips and learn from her experiences to help me through. Saira has been great at helping me identify and focus on my goals, and seeing that it is possible to successfully combine academia and clinical work is a huge motivator. I would thoroughly recommend the mentoring scheme to anyone who is thinking about joining it.” – Dr Jasmini Alagaratnam (mentee)
We anticipate that most requests for mentors from Department of Medicine staff/PhD students will be matched with Department of Medicine staff but the integrated scheme allows us to make matches across the whole Faculty where a match cannot be found within the Department of Medicine. We welcome queries from potential mentees and mentors at any time and will do our best to match you with a suitable colleague as quickly as possible. Please note that if you’re interested in becoming a mentor you will need to complete a half-day workshop. The next workshops are on 25 October and 13 February.