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SP0196 What to Expect from your Mentor and how to Optimize the Mentoring Process
  1. R. E. Gay1
  1. 1Rheumatologie, USZ, Zürich, Switzerland


What to expect from your mentor and how to optimize the mentoring process

Mentorship refers to a developmental relationship between a more experienced mentor and a less experienced partner referred to as a protégé or mentee - a person guided and protected by a more prominent person. And no matter if a person is very young in his or her career or has already some experience, there is still the need for a mentor.

It is important to have a person who helps to sort out the big stones of challenge from the gravel, as Stephen R. Covey explains in his book “The 7 habits of highly effective people” (1992 Covey Leadership Center, Inc).

There are two types of mentoring relationships: formal and informal. In well-designed formal mentoring programs, there are program goals, schedules, training (for mentors and mentees), and evaluation. Mentors inspire their mentee to reach their goal and support them on their way. A study shows that, in institutions that have a formal mentoring program, employees stay in average twice as long as in institutions without mentoring.

Mentoring means provision of: resources, opportunities, advice and protection (David L. Sackett, Clin Invest Med 2001, 24:94-100).


- space to work

- productivity enhancing equipment

- money to go to courses and participate in meetings


- to carry out review of manuscripts and grants

- to accompany mentors to meetings of ethics and grant review committees

- to accept requests from prominent, reviewed journals to write editorials, comments or essays (together with the mentor)

- to become lead author of such papers

- to learn how to network properly


- Creativity: a mentor should encourage the mentee to be creative, for example, to use lateral or horizontal thinking, beside vertical thinking (Hauser MJ, Feinberg D. Problem solving revisited. J Psychiatr Nurs Ment Health Serv. 15(10):13-17 Oct 1977)

- Fairness: to connect up with other researchers and to be fair! (Aristotle)

- Honesty: to be honest about results

- Active listening: should focus on the mentee’s development as independent thinkers

- Learn to prioritize


- rehearse the presentations in front of the mentor and the team

- to recognise and respond appropriately to critical letters from editors and reviewers for publications

There are important mentoring programs from different institutions: Articulum fellowship; EULAR: Objectives 2012; EMEUNET.

Mentoring and networking always start in the team.

Disclosure of Interest None Declared

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