There are undoubtedly significant benefits to mentorship, which is why 84 percent of Fortune 500 companies have mentorship programs to both support their employees and ensure engagement in the workplace. Mentorship remains at the forefront as the key to building top leaders and retaining employees and is integral for just about every industry. However, if there is one sector that reaps the most benefits from mentorship, it’s healthcare with an abundance of high-risk jobs. Still, while mentorship plays a vital role in healthcare, according to a Journal of Healthcare Leadership report, oftentimes health professionals assume their first leadership positions without the proper training and no formal mentoring.
One of the challenges has been the difficulty of finding a mentor. A recent survey revealed that although 98 percent of respondents thought mentoring is important, only 10 percent reported being satisfied with their mentoring situation and 82 percent of respondents require more access to mentors. The most cited reason for not having mentors was the accessibility to more experienced professionals. As the need for healthcare workers continues to grow, we must focus on solutions to both attract and retain future and current employees to strengthen the workforce. And mentorship is a critical tool for addressing current and future staffing challenges and helping our next generation of healthcare workers realize their full potential.
Given the rigors, responsibilities, and stress workers in the industry face, mentorship aids students and early career professionals in gaining a greater understanding of their career objectives and being more equipped to handle the demands of being a healthcare provider. Mentors help create a smoother transition for students as they grow into the role of healthcare worker and push them to unleash their potential.
Guidance from a mentor is vital throughout an individual’s journey navigating healthcare. Having the support of someone that is in a position you aspire to reach prevents unwarranted confusion and mistakes, and yields clarity and reassurance. Mentorship is not only a morale booster, but it also helps one to grow professionally and ensures the healthcare workforce remains strong when seasoned professionals share their knowledge, skills, and experiences with students and novice professionals.
Finally, mentorship is key in bringing more diversity, equity, and inclusion to healthcare. Lack of representation not only affects the provider but can result in negative outcomes for patients. Creating more resources and opportunities for minority groups to become involved and feel welcome in the sector is crucial as we build a more equitable healthcare system. First-generation college students, students of color, and those from underrepresented areas benefit the most from mentorship as they do not typically have the resources and guidance to achieve their career goals.
Today, more than ever before, we must take a proactive role to empower the next generation of healthcare workers through mentorship. Mentorship means less risk of burnout, greater job satisfaction, and an overall stronger sector for both patients and employees to thrive.
The author, Rodeline Joseph, is a physician assistant with over a decade of experience in healthcare. Rodeline created Medsembly to bring mentorship to healthcare and improve outcomes for both patients and providers.