Mentoring & preceptorship

Mentoring can provide a supportive environment where learners can develop the skills, knowledge and mindset needed for independence. Effective mentoring will motivate and empower learners. According to David Clutterbuck, “A mentor is an individual who is willing to help someone less experienced gain confidence, clearer purpose, insight and wisdom”

A mentor should help the mentee to identify their own issues and goals and assist them with setting actions and timeframes to address these. 

NHS England defines preceptorship as “a period to guide, develop and support all newly registered practitioners to build confidence and competence as they transition from student to autonomous professional.”

Mentoring and preceptorship to develop independence:

  • Help the mentee to devise their own personal development plan and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals to work towards
  • Build confidence through encouragement and celebrating successes
  • Act as a role model
  • Encourage the mentee to think beyond the obvious and challenge assumptions
  • Reflect and share constructive feedback.

Including mentoring and preceptorship in your course:

  • Self-reflection - include activities on self-reflection and stating how things could have been done better. Ask learners “how do you feel that went?” or work in small groups to obtain feedback from peers
  • Duty of candour - normalise the process of ‘not always getting it right every time’ and use mistakes as a positive learning experience
  • Ask students from the previous year to mentor new students
  • Include mentoring sessions as part of the timetable
  • Build self-confidence - it is important to try and build the student’s confidence as a person. Celebrate student progress and that they are competent and can be trusted to complete certain tasks
  • Use tutorials to encourage thinking and debating in smaller groups.