For any organization attempting to create a physician mentorship program, a challenge is getting tenured physicians to find the time to act as mentors. At HIAE, the job descriptions of medical coordinators in the emergency department were changed to reflect the official expectation of providing mentorship and coaching to more junior colleagues. As a result, medical coordinators viewed participation in the mentorship program not as an additional, optional ask, but as a requisite part of their jobs.
Excerpt from HIAE Medical Coordinator Job Description (translated)
- “…that you will counsel and help train newer doctors…”
- “…you will act as a resource and point of contact for new doctors.”
Secure physician buy-in by having executives set mentorship expectation
Prior to rollout of the mentorship program, the president/CEO of HIAE sent regular communications to senior physicians emphasizing the importance of the mentorship program. This reinforced the expectation that senior staff would actively participate as mentors. Additionally, at the end of the first round of the mentorship program, HIAE’s president/CEO recognized each mentor at a public ceremony. This form of recognition continues, with the CEO presiding over quarterly ceremonies for mentors and mentees. Former participants in the mentorship program may attend as well, helping to create a lasting community of program participants.
Lastly, a major part in securing buy-in to the mentorship program was that the overall time commitment would be manageable. Mentors are expected to devote roughly one hour a month during work hours to meet with their mentee over the first 8 to 12 months of tenure. The ideal goal is to meet for roughly 10 to 12 sessions, with 8 being the bare minimum for completion. The range was set up deliberately to build flexibility into the scheduling of the sessions and recognize that mentee and mentor physicians have busy, unpredictable schedules.