Mentorship Process: Guidelines and Policy

UF Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship Program

During Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (PCCM) Fellowship, fellows develop their skills to become clinicians, academicians, teachers and researchers. One of the many aspects of training that occur during fellowship is mentoring.

There are a variety of possible mentors for PCCM fellows, such as research (basic or clinical) advisors, clinicians/faculty with mutual interest in a specific area of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine, or faculty with a particular expertise – which may be outside of the field of PCCM. A mentee may have more than one mentor at the same time, or change mentors during their fellowship. However, it is important to have at least one primary mentor to facilitate professional development and career selection.

Our mentoring program has structure and expectations from both the mentor and mentee as outlined below. Within six months of the start of fellowship, all fellows will identify a faculty mentor and confirm his/her interest and inform the program coordinator. The program director will help identify a mentor if the fellow is unable to do so.

The role of the mentor is to help guide the fellow to explore the available research opportunities (ultimately guiding the fellow toward a research pathway and a specific research mentor) as well as provide career guidance. As such, the mentor does not need to be an individual with whom the fellow desires or expects to do research (though this is preferable), but rather a faculty member with knowledge of the research opportunities both within and beyond the division. The mentor should help the fellow determine the general area of research that best fits with the fellow’s aptitudes and interests.

Mentor and Mentee would meet at least once every two months and would perform a formal review of the mentoring relationship at least once every six months. This review would be available to the program director for the semiannual evaluation.

Ground rules for mentormentee relationships and meetings

It should generally be the responsibility of the mentee to reach out to the mentor for meetings, and it is the responsibility of the mentor to make the time for the mentee. A mentoring agreement (Attachment A) will be entered into by the Mentor and the Mentee which would include the following:

  1. Prior to the first meeting with a mentor, fellows should write down at least three things that they would like to achieve through mentoring. Rank the three items in order of importance.
  2. Fellows should write down at least three things that they would like their mentor to provide as part of the relationship.
  3. Prepare a CV to share with your mentor when you first meet. Be sure to also include your own vision, mission or life goals.

Developing a positive mentoring relationship:

  1. Logistics and timing of meetings:Mentor and mentee would set aside at least half an hour every two months and an hour every six months (for the formal review) during working hours to formally meet and discuss.
  2. Prepare for the first meeting: Mentor and Mentee need to make a list of things that are important in their opinion. The list might include:
  • For the mentor, what it was like to be starting out, what it was like to make the decision for his/her career path, or about expectations concerning the mentoring relationship.
  • For the mentee, factors leading to the decision to become Pulmonary Critical Care physician, goals during fellowship, or any areas of concern.
  1. Be clear about purpose and boundaries: Gift-giving, loaning money or becoming involved in dispute resolution are all out of bounds. May discuss ethical or moral issues. Mentor should advocate for career advancement as appropriate.
  2. Create an agenda for each meeting: Mentee should be responsible to create an agenda. List two or three and then ask the mentor if they have any items they would like to add. Send an electronic version to the mentor prior to the meeting.
  3. Listen deeply and ask questions‐ Two essential skills for both Mentor and Mentee are:
  • In-depth listening, that is, suspending judgment, listening for understanding and
  • Asking powerful questions, that is, questions that are challenging in a friendly way and questions that help the other person talk about what is important to them.
  1. End of the Meeting Review and Plan for the next meeting: The mentor and mentee would review the mutually developed goals to determine progress and complete a progress form (Attachment B).  Then each should solicit any ideas about what might be discussed at the next meeting.
  2. Both Mentor and Mentee are expected to maintain and respect privacy, honesty, and integrity. 
  3. Both Mentor and Mentee are expected to be responsive: It is critically important that both mentor and mentee establish expectations about when things will be finished – and most importantly that they complete these on time. Both should respond to calls and emails in a timely fashion. Both would fill-out a research timeline (Attachment C) and adhere to them.
  4. Both mentor and Mentee are expected to encourage open communication in this relationship:The focus of most successful mentoring is mutual learning.

For Mentees

Choose wisely: The best predictor of future success is usually past success.  Pick a mentor with a proven track record of mentoring house officers and/or fellows. Feel free to ask your potential mentor about his/her tract record, his/her philosophy about research, clinical practice, or your area(s) of interest.

Take the initiative for the first meeting:  Take the initiative to make the first call, but as part of the Mentoring Agreement, determine who will organize meetings moving forward.

Bring ideas and “a plan of action” to all of your meetings: Bring ideas to your meetings, in particular to your initial planning meetings. Be prepared to tell your mentor what you think, why it is important, and what your ideas about developing your ideas are. Be prepared, and expect, to give an update on what you have accomplished at each meeting.

Demonstrate initiative, leadership, and selfreliance.

Actively seek feedback: Look at what you have accomplished.  Ask how you are doing, acknowledge that you would like to improve and ask how you can accomplish this.

Reassess your goals frequently: Ask yourself if you have accomplished what you set out to at the beginning of the process.  If you are meeting your goals, communicate this to your mentor.  If you are not meeting our goals, also communicate this, and think about how you might meet your goals.  Your mentor should be able to strategize with you.

Communicate your wishes openly and honestly:  If your needs are not being met, discuss this with your mentor.  Terminating a mentoring relationship or switching to a different mentor is not a sign or failure by either party. Recognizing your changing needs and finding a respectful way to meet your learning goals are critical.

Attachment: Mentoring Agreement, Mentorship Process/Research Progress Evaluation, and Research Timeline

Mentorship Process-Guidelines and Policy UF Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship Program Final