Getting a leg up: How finding the right mentor can help you become a better healthcare professional

Getting a leg up: How finding the right mentor can help you become a better healthcare professional

Finding a good mentor can be one of the best professional decisions of a healthcare worker’s career.

From having someone more experienced to bounce off insights and questions to learning from a more established professional’s knowledge and advice, the benefits of a mentor are numerous.

Read on to learn how, exactly, mentorship can benefit a healthcare professional in any practice.

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For healthcare professionals to really grow in their knowledge, the benefit of a mentor’s wisdom and life experience can be extremely helpful.

By collaborating through an informal ‘catch up’ with a mentor, healthcare professionals can find solutions and answers to common problems.

The mentor may also provide access to undocumented data and key insights into case studies.

Gain new skills

Mentors can help build your resume and guide you on projects you may not otherwise have access to.

For example, a more experienced healthcare professional may provide a recommendation to an industry group which requires an introduction, or they may be able to share insights into a niche within your sector. 

Identify key resources

Whether you have a question about developing new skills in your particular medical niche or simply want to know the best professional associations to join, having a mentor can save you time and energy searching for the right answers.

By modelling your professional development on someone with years of experience, you can follow their lead on which resources to utilise, and which associations to join.

Seek referrals  

The benefits of a mentor extend to accessing new and helpful networks.

Mentors can help healthcare professionals find job openings, special projects and even refer them for new opportunities.

By having a mentor in your medical field, you gain the benefit of their professional network while building your own.

Gain perspective

Mentors are often a generation or at least a few years older than the mentee.

By having a professional relationship with someone who has been in your healthcare niche for a certain number of years before you, you can gain key insights into areas of your profession that are rapidly changing.

This is also one of the biggest benefits to the mentor in the relationship: the mentee provides a glimpse into the future of the industry.

So, how can you find a mentor?

The benefits of having a mentor are numerous, but how do you actually go about finding one?

While it is useful to access a mentor through your current workplace, they can also come from a different industry, institution, speciality or country. Look beyond what you think a typical mentor should be and keep an open mind. Someone from a different industry, for example, could have great leadership skills and give you the fresh perspective you need.

Thanks to the internet, it has never been easier to connect with other professionals. Could you reach out through a LinkedIn message? Or perhaps you’ve come across someone’s work that you admire and an email introduction is all you need to get started.

Also, start with your own network of friends and family and ask them if they know of anyone who might be in a position to offer mentorship. An introduction through someone you know will be more positively received than cold-calling a stranger.

How has a mentor helped you? And what advice do you have for mentees? Share your tips in the comments section below.

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