Meet the Mentors
A mentor should be well versed in organizational processes, have clinical expertise and—if not an experienced teacher—should have well-honed people skills.
“Our mentors come from a profile of different folks, including the founding group of Cogent, a large practice in Los Angeles comprised of experienced hospitalists,” explains Dr. Holman. “Another group of mentors is our entire slate of medical directors, who have individual expertise in different areas. When mentors go on site visits, there’s no direct reporting, but they bring their expertise and facilitate networking.”
Cogent continues to widen its pool of available mentors, and is working to include physicians with special expertise. “We’re trying to build a diverse team [of mentors],” says Dr. Holman. “We look for clinical expertise in physicians who may not necessarily hold leadership roles. We try to predetermine which available mentor we think will be the best fit for a program, including personality, culture, and expertise.”
You Can Introduce Mentoring
You many not have the resources or number of physicians that Cogent has, but you can still start your own mentoring program. “Any program can look at a variety of resources to build a stable of mentors, or at least have a couple of mentors they can draw on,” insists Dr. Holman. “Look at other members of the medical staff that are experienced and role models for desirable qualities. Mentors can be within the healthcare field, but they don’t have to be physicians. One of my personal mentors for years was a director of human resources. You can even look outside healthcare.
“SHM is constantly looking at how to facilitate mentorship through venues like the Mentorship Breakfast at the Annual Meeting, and I still keep in touch with people I’ve met there,” he continues. “The SHM Annual Meeting is a terrific venue in general if you’re looking to connect members of your group (or yourself) with others from around the country.”
Implementing and maintaining a mentoring program may add to your workload, but it will pay off immediately. Just remember not to plan it out too carefully. “Mentoring is a constant work in progress,” concludes Dr. Holman. “We never want to see it as a static or inflexible entity. It’s a dynamic process driven by physician needs.” TH
Jane Jerrard writes “Career Development” each month for The Hospitalist