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Mentor Guidelines

The goal of the mentoring program is to provide guidance and support for fellows and junior faculty members, outside their own institutions. The primary goal of this relationship is to nurture the mentee’s professional development through an open two-way interaction.

Thank you for your interest in the mentoring program. The following suggestions may provide some direction to you in developing a relationship with your mentee. As a mentor, it is hoped that you will share your experience and expertise with your mentee and help guide his/her career development. Areas of possible discussion include career decisions, job search, curriculum vitae feedback, reading grants, critiquing manuscripts, discussing research projects, time management skills, negotiating contracts, and promotion process. You may also be able to advise your mentee about ways to achieve balance among career, personal, and family responsibilities.

A successful mentoring relationship requires open two-way communication. A firm commitment on both the mentor and mentee’s part to continue this communication on a regular basis is necessary. Each dyad will find a frequency and mode of communication that will work well for them. For example, some may find weekly e-mails to be right for them, while others find quarterly phone calls may be sufficient. We encourage you to get together at regional and national meetings when possible. Some dyads may find setting up a contract to outline their level of commitment and frequency of communication helpful.

Matching
The Professional Development Committee will match you with a mentee who has professional interests similar to yours (i.e. academic vs. private practice; basic vs. clinical research). In addition, we will strive to match you with someone who has interests in similar non-academic activities.

First Contact
As the mentor, we encourage you to initiate contact with your mentee within two weeks of your mentee assignment. This goal of this first contact is to get to know each other. Topics of conversation should include your career development and professional interests. You will want to learn about your mentee's current position and interests and his/her plans for future directions, both professionally and personally. Furthermore, find out if your mentee has any specific need for which you may assist. Lastly, discuss how and when you will next contact each other.

The First Six Months

  • Communicate on a regular basis
  • Guide the mentee to write out 1-3 goals they wish to accomplish in their career and discuss ways to accomplish these goals.
  • Evaluate the relationship. See below.
Mentor Guidelines

  • Encourage and demonstrate confidence in your mentee.
  • Listen to your mentee.
  • Respect your mentee’s time as much as you respect your own.
  • Be explicit about your own needs and limits, for example, specifying times in which you are unavailable and times that are good for communication.
  • Recognize your limitations.
  • Be explicit with your mentee that you are only offering suggestions and that they should be weighed along with advice received from others.
  • Make only positive or neutral comments about your mentee to others.
  • It is important not to confuse positive communications with a need for unwarranted praise or flattery. The goal is to provide constructive criticism from which the mentee can improve. Provide specific examples.
  • If you find that you or your mentee is no longer benefiting from the relationship it is acceptable to end the relationship. This should be discussed, rather than abrupt avoidance of calls or no longer responding to e-mails. If this is detected an open discussion of whether the relationship should continue should ensue.
  • If either you or the mentee feel you would benefit from a different assignment, discuss with each other and then ask the Professional Development Committee of NASPGHAN for a change in assignment.
Evaluating the Relationship

After 6 months, the Professional Development Committee will ask you to evaluate the relationship. We will ask how often you communicated, whether goals were discussed, and if the relationship is comfortable. We also want to know if you feel this relationship is compatible, that is, you and your mentee have similar interests. We will ask if you feel you can provide for your mentee’s needs. We will ask for a similar evaluation from your mentee.

Application Form for Mentors