Thank you for your interest in becoming a mentor to a student who is learning new skills through a NextGenU.org course. We provide free, competency-based courses for health professionals and others in training and practice. Your guidance, role-modeling, and supervision will make these trainings practical, and we hope this experience provides positive benefits in your community.
Your role as a NextGenU mentor
You will be a good mentor if you have relevant topical expertise (for example, for a pediatrics training, you are an experienced clinician who treats children, and a willingness to share that expertise with trainees and to help them gain their own expertise). Your job is to allow trainees to:
- Observe you demonstrating skills (such as taking a history, performing a procedure, or negotiating follow-up)
- Ask questions about their observations and the learning they are doing on their own
- Be safely and constructively guided by you and appropriate others on your team as they practice those skills when they’re prepared to do so
- Receive a final assessment by you at the conclusion of the course. This brief document should help you do these activities well; have a look here (http://www.socsci.uci.edu/ssarc/castellj/webdocs/Mentorship.pdf) for more on mentoring.
Share learning goals and expectations: Discuss expectations and learning goals at the outset of the mentorship, to clarify what the student already knows, and their interests, knowledge, and skill gaps that should be addressed during the course.
Give students a chance to practice: After students have observed appropriate techniques with you or your colleagues, give them a chance to practice their new skills in a safe way, under appropriate supervision.
Provide feedback: A formal final evaluation is required of all mentors. Ongoing feedback is also extremely important. You and your student should have informal review sessions frequently (e.g., during or just after activities, and/or at the end of the work day or week) to identify the student’s strengths and challenges, and to provide direction for appropriate change.
Verbalize the decision-making process: Try to verbalize the ‘why’ behind your activities by describing your problem-solving strategies and encouraging the student to work through this process with you. Such behaviors show how integrating and applying concepts (vs. the rote memorization a student may be used to) are essential to successful practice.
The evaluation process: NextGenU has created two assessment tools relevant to the mentor and student: one for mentors to assess students and the mentoring experience, and the other for students to assess the mentoring experience (to allow NextGenU to refine our process).