New to the Job? Find a Mentor.

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If you’re a recent college grad who’s just landed a healthcare job but are overwhelmed by the sudden change from school to work, maybe it’s time you found a mentor.


Mentors bridge the gap between the academic and the working world. Applicants to most mentoring programs can typically choose a mentor from members of the healthcare community. Mentors offer guidance to help the applicant transition from academia to the corporate culture.


Most mentorships have certain guidelines, expectations and activities participating mentees are expected to follow. These help ensure the best possible outcome for both mentors and mentees. To get the most out of your mentor, you should schedule regular meetings (at least monthly) to discuss your progress and goals.


After your employee orientation, many large healthcare employers will assign you a mentor. This may be either a formal process or an informal one. A formal mentorship usually lasts from six months to a year. Either way, the goal is to encourage, support and guide you in your early career path to ensure that you grow personally and professionally.


While mentors are not responsible for your day-to-day activities or solving everyday problems, they can serve as coaches, advisors and counselors. Your mentor won’t evaluate you or directly interface with your supervisor, and he or she won’t teach you specific skills or hand-hold you through job related assignments. They can help with communication issues, career goals and special problems or concerns that relate to the company culture and structure. In large organizations, mentors can help guide you to the resources you may need to solve a problem or resolve an issue.


Traci Hanlon MN, RN, Consultant at Creative Health Care Management, lists three goals for successful mentoring relationships:


  1. Goal Definition. Define what you want to accomplish and how your mentor can help you achieve your goals. In some cases, your mentor can help you focus on significant goals as opposed to those that may not impact your career. 
  2. Goal Documentation. Putting key goals in writing keeps each mentoring session in focus and ensures that goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
  3. Goal Timeline. Creating a timeline for your goals keeps things on schedule and forces both mentor and mentee to follow specific metrics that measure your progress. Timelines should be updated during each mentoring session.


Hanlon also makes the point that there may be times when you simply need emotional support or a sympathetic ear to vent. This, notes Hanlon, is an entirely acceptable aspect of the mentor/mentee relationship.  


Mentors can also be found outside the company—on sites like the Blueprint Health community. These healthcare professionals can provide hands-on mentorship in the form of guidance and insight to help you move up in your career.


If you’re a recent college grad and new to the job, consider finding and using a mentor to help guide you in your career path.


Image courtesy of Ambro/


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