Making mentoring meaningful
Mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person assists another in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person’s professional and personal growth.
The Master of Pharmacy teaching team has developed a near-peer mentoring framework that encourages Level 6 students to support Level 4 students and Level 7 students to support Level 5 students. This aimed to put students at the heart of the scheme. A small number of volunteers piloted the scheme and made suggestions on how it could be rolled out across the Pharmacy Programme. Care was taken to ensure staff only needed a small amount of input to allow the scheme to operate.
Some general mentoring information was provided to all students and some leadership techniques were introduced to mentors. Engagement was encouraged by inclusion in a professional development portfolio assessment and was recorded by short Canvas quizzes. Quiz responses generated feedback to students.
The scheme has been in place since September 2019 and students have reported a substantial number of positive outcomes. Unsurprisingly mentees appreciate support with course related matters but also have indicated benefits relating to stress management and confidence. Mentors have reported several personal development benefits when acting as mentors.
We plan to outline the structure of the scheme and indicate some of the benefits as well as a few difficulties. We will outline the way we structured the Canvas quizzes to provide feedback Students will present some of their individual experiences of mentoring. We believe similar mentoring arrangements could be useful to students on other Programmes.
We believe this mentoring demonstrates the LJMU value of being Student Focused and also has encouraged an inclusive culture on the MPharm that would be beneficial to other disciplines
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