Intended for healthcare professionals


Editor’s Choice: How to be mentored

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 16 August 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i4457
  1. Tom Moberly, editor
  1. BMJ Careers
  1. tmoberly{at}

Doctors who are asked to mentor a colleague are likely to give thought to how they approach the task ahead. As time progresses, they may also think about how well they are performing the role. But less attention has traditionally been paid to how those being mentored should approach this new relationship.

Vineet Chopra and colleagues, however, have developed a set of rules that doctors can use to get the best out of their mentors To do so, they reflected on their own experiences of being mentored and of mentoring others, and they contacted a group of mentors and asked for some tips to help those being mentored.

Chopra and colleagues argue that those who are mentored need to invest considerable effort to ensure that they gain maximum benefit from the relationships. “Effective menteeship is a learned skill that requires practice, patience, and trial and error,” they say. “A highly effective mentee selects the right mentors, communicates clearly and efficiently, is engaged, prepared, and energising, finishes tasks ahead of schedule, and plays well with others.”

They also point out that those being mentored need to be respectful of their mentors’ time and that they need to avoid exploiting their support and goodwill. “The mentee who respects a mentor’s time and finds ways of using it productively is best placed to benefit from mentorship,” they say.


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