The reasons for the current, renewed emphasis on mentoring in the medical profession are many. Mentoring is not only a traditional manner of passing knowledge and experience from one generation to the next. It is also a means of preparing young doctors for practice and encourages them to assume their role as able professionals better able to play a vital role in the medical environment.
The mentoring relationship has a strong tradition in medicine, dating from long before the profession was a recognized field of academic study. Historically, medical knowledge was passed along through close teacher-student relationships. In the 19th century, the need for this relationship has grown, as effective collaboration after graduation is required in a fast-paced, rapidly changing work environment.
Mentoring is a well-established concept in many professions, including law, nursing, and engineering. It encourages career development and enhancement; supports ethnic and gender diversity in the profession; provides member benefits; and increases retention of critical information. Mentoring can help young people through times of change and transition, easing the adjustment to a new academic or professional environment and ensuring the success of emerging professionals.
Mentoring is often given lip service in education, but for successful mentees, it is a reality. Mentoring facilitates success. People want to be around other people who are successful and who demonstrate a positive attitude.
You can make a difference by becoming a mentor. You have the opportunity to help prepare a future generation of medical students and young doctors for the challenges ahead. A mentee should possess an insatiable desire to learn, study, express interest in their own work and the work of their mentee. You can make a difference in a medical student's training and at the same time, grow from the experience yourself.