How to Maintain a Good Mentor/Mentee Relationship
Updated: Jun 7
This article was originally published on 12/3/19 by Doximity Op-Med.
Mentorship has always been, and continues to be, a large part of my success as a nurse practitioner.
In the first two articles in this series I discussed the importance of mentorship as well as how to find the right fit in a mentor. In this article I’ll be discussing ways to maintain a good mentor/mentee relationship.
Help Your Mentor When You Can
A mentor/mentee relationship is generally not symbiotic. The mentor is usually doing more for the mentee, such as answering questions, offering guidance, and being a supportive peer. However, in my practice I’ve also been able to give back to my mentors by helping them out if they have extra work. If we work in the same clinic and my mentor has a heavy patient load, I’ll offer to see some of their patients or go through the task box to see if there is anything that I can take care of. By helping your mentor, not only are you building a stronger relationship, but you can give back to them for all the time they’ve put in to you.
Show Gratitude for Your Mentor
I live my life with an attitude of gratitude and truly believe that gratitude is essential for joy and abundance. The same is true for the relationship with my mentor. I am so grateful for many mentors who have helped answer my challenging clinical questions, comforted me when I was feeling down, and gave me words of encouragement when I was doing things right. I usually show appreciation with a card or gift once in a while, and always a big 'thank you' after each patient they've helped me with. Your mentor is doing you a big service by helping you, don’t forget to show them gratitude and appreciation.
Before Asking for Help, Perform Your Due Diligence
There have been a few times when I’ve gone to my mentor for a question that I could have found the answer to on my own. This not only makes me look bad, but also takes time away from their busy schedule. To avoid this, make sure you do all necessary due diligence prior to asking your question. This may mean reviewing their chart, scanning UpToDate, or ordering additional labs or imaging so you can bring them the entire clinical picture. By performing your due diligence, you’re not only making it easier for your mentor to help you, but you’re also becoming a better clinician.
Mentorship is truly important to our development as individuals and a profession. I liken mentorship to the African Proverb which states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”