Tip of the Week: Build a Culture of Mentorship in Your Pharmacy

,

Mentorship in pharmacy is particularly important because it may contribute to the development of competent, proficient, and motivated pharmacists to lead the profession and continue to advance the field.

Although related to coaching, mentorship is a unique topic deserving of its own attention. Mentors are unique because they elect to invest in the growth of another individual by sharing their knowledge while providing support and guidance.

Although all of us have had managers or supervisors, not everyone has had the opportunity to experience true mentorship. Coaches and managers push us to perform for the purpose of achieving a set goal, but a relationship with a mentor is different because it is transformational and aimed at developing the individual. The relationship is based on trust, support, and feedback. Mentorship in pharmacy is particularly important because it may contribute to the development of competent, proficient, and motivated pharmacists to lead the profession and continue to advance the field.

A recent study of pharmacist mentors and mentees was conducted to evaluate the lived experiences that contribute to these relationships and gain insight on best practices for developing new mentorship relationships and programs.1 The results of the study found that mentoring provided a sense of pride, as pharmacists felt they were giving back to the profession and that the relationship may be lifelong in successful instances. Mentees reflected favorably on the experience of being mentored, the flexibility of their mentorship 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 findings highlight the reciprocal and symbiotic nature of the mentor and mentee bond and may be the foundation of building a successful relationship.

Mentoring is providing guidance, counseling, and direction to a novice for the purpose of refining and developing their skills and knowledge base and helping to advance the mentee’s personal and professional growth. Identifying a worthy mentee who demonstrates inherent motivation for personal and professional development is essential to form the relationship because it may require significant time and energy from both parties. Although the time commitment may be viewed as a drawback and could deter some from participating in mentorship, it is important to realize the benefits as well. The relationship is often rewarding for both parties, as the mentor may experience intrinsic satisfaction by contributing to others’ lives and observing their advancement, while the mentee may experience an improvement in self-worth, confidence, and professional identity.1

For mentoring relationships to be successful, trust must be established through clear and open communication regarding expectations. Additionally, both mentors and mentees should determine whether their values align with one another.1 Pharmacy managers acting as mentors should go beyond coaching. Although coaching has certain benefits, as it offers enhanced consultation and guidance, mentorship entails a more intimate and vested approach.1 Ultimately, mentoring may be more effective for knowledge transfer, development, motivation, and employee engagement.1

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

Organizations can place value in mentoring programs by investing in the mentors and providing training and rewards for exhibiting commitment to the program, in order to encourage participation and ensure the program’s sustainability. Even in the absence of a formal mentoring program, the pharmacy manager should indicate the importance of and value placed on informal mentorship, encouraging all employees to learn from and look out for one another.

More information about Managing People can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Valerie Wasem is a PharmD candidate at Touro University California.

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

REFERENCE

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