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Build a culture of mentorship in your pharmacy

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Although related to coaching, mentoring is a unique topic that deserves its own attention. Mentors are unique because they choose to invest in another person’s growth by sharing their knowledge while offering support and guidance.

Although we’ve all had managers or supervisors, not everyone has had the opportunity to experience true mentorship. Coaches and managers push us to perform in order to achieve a set goal, but a relationship with a mentor is different because it is transformational and aims at the development of the individual. The relationship is based on trust, support and feedback. Pharmacy mentorship is particularly important as it can contribute to the development of competent, competent and motivated pharmacists to lead the profession and continue to advance the field.

A recent study of pharmacist mentors and mentees was conducted to assess the lived experiences that contribute to these relationships and gain insight into best practices for developing new relationships and mentoring programs.1 The results of the study revealed that mentorship provided a sense of pride, as pharmacists felt they were giving back to the profession and that the relationship could be lifelong in successful cases. Mentees reflected favorably on the experience of being mentored, the flexibility of their mentoring partner, and the program.1

Notably, a lack of engagement and commitment from one party led to frustration from the perspective of both mentors and mentees.1 These results highlight the reciprocal and symbiotic nature of the bond between mentor and mentee and can form the foundation of a successful relationship.

Mentoring is the provision of advice, guidance and direction to a novice with the goal of refining and developing their skills and knowledge base and to help advance the personal and professional growth of the mentee. Identifying a worthy mentee who demonstrates an inherent motivation for personal and professional development is key to forming the relationship, as it can require a great deal of time and energy from both parties. While the time commitment can be viewed as a downside and may deter some people from participating in mentoring, it is also important to realize the benefits. The relationship is often rewarding for both parties, as the mentor may experience intrinsic satisfaction from contributing to the lives of others and observing their advancement, while the mentee may experience improved self-esteem, confidence and professional identity.1

For mentoring relationships to be successful, trust must be built through clear and open communication about expectations. Additionally, mentors and mentees need to consider whether their values ​​align with each other.1 Pharmacy managers acting as mentors should go beyond coaching. While coaching has some benefits, as it offers enhanced consultation and guidance, mentoring involves a more intimate and learned approach.1 Ultimately, mentoring can be more effective for knowledge transfer, employee development, motivation, and engagement.1

Importantly, the study recognizes a lack of mentoring culture within pharmacy, as opposed to medicine and nursing, where extensive literature exists on the human needs of mentors and mentees involved in a mentoring relationship.1 Pharmacy managers need to recognize the need to establish a culture of mentorship within pharmacy where collaboration, knowledge sharing and engagement are encouraged. Creating a culture of mentoring means supporting employees by generating opportunities to build deeper relationships, providing an individualized and personalized approach to development, and identifying strong role models to serve as mentors.

Organizations can value mentorship programs by investing in mentors and providing training and rewards for their commitment to the program, to encourage participation and ensure program sustainability. Even in the absence of a formal mentorship program, the pharmacy manager should communicate the importance and value placed on informal mentorship, encouraging all employees to learn from and protect each other. .

More information on manage people can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, Grade 5.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Valerie Wasem is a PharmD candidate at the University of Touro in California.

Shane P. Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, is a professor of social and behavioral pharmacy at the University of Touro in California.

REFERENCE

1. Mantzourani E, Chang H, Desselle S, Canedo J, Fleming G. Reflections of mentors and mentees on a national mentorship program for pharmacists: an examination of relationships, personal and professional development. Res Soc Admin Pharm. 2022;18(3):2495-2504.