Pharmacy U

Mentors and mentees assess their successful journey


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By Mike Boivin, BSc.Phm.

In a formal mentorship program, the participants develop clear goals and then work to reach them. Reflecting on the program, many of the mentees have already achieved their goals and are now searching for their next challenges and opportunities.

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

– John F. Kennedy

Here are some of their key learnings:

1. It is all about relationships

Tackling a career goal without any support can seem overwhelming. Discussing a goal through a network of colleagues will not only help to clearly define the goal but also help provide the best direction to reach it. Networking is a two-way relationship where each colleague provides a unique perspective and set of skills that can benefit both parties.

2. It helps to write down your goals and discuss them with a colleague

Writing out goals makes it a formal process and allows a mentee to start determining the steps to reach these goals. Discussing with a mentor either formally or informally further solidifies the goal and provides some clarity on how to achieve it. This discussion also helps to determine if a goal is reasonable or should be modified to better fit the needs of the mentee.

3. Many paths lead to a goal

It is exceptionally rare to have a meaningful goal without challenges along the way. A key advantage to a mentorship program is that barriers that seem daunting can become easily manageable with the resources and guidance from the mentor.

4. Accountability is important

It is the mentee’s responsibility to work towards a goal. The mentor can provide direction and support, but the mentees are ultimately accountable for reaching their own goals. Each of the mentees in this program pushed herself to achieve results and the mentor played a supportive but not a driving role.

5. Support can come from anywhere

One of the biggest mistakes when trying to reach a goal is not to ask for support. Asking for support and assistance is not a sign of weakness or lack of knowledge. Most pharmacist colleagues are happy to share from their experience. Networking facilitates this process as each new person in your network can provide you with support and resources.

6. Success is inspiring

Most of the mentees spoke of attaining one or several of their goals through their relationship with their mentors. At the onset of the program, many mentees were not sure if they would reach their goals over the course of the yearlong program. Their success has inspired many to look at the next set of challenges and opportunities.

7. Don’t stop moving forward

In their follow-up, many mentees said they were going to use their success to propel themselves to reach new goals and continue to advance their careers. The mentorship process clearly helps to cultivate the pharmacy leaders of tomorrow.

8. Every pharmacist can move forward

It does not matter if you are a new practitioner or a pharmacist with decades of experience, you can move yourself and the profession forward. By constantly developing goals, networking with colleagues, assessing process and finally reaching goals, each pharmacist can not only improve her personal satisfaction but ultimately become a better pharmacist. And the process should never stop.

One quote from the mentee Alicia Matthews-Kent eloquently summarizes the mentorship program:

“I did not realize until today when I met with Sandra (my mentor) and reviewed my goals how much progress I was making. Wow! I guess that is the beauty in writing them down – even without realizing it, your mind puts a focus on the goals you’ve written and the execution really starts to take shape. Had I not written down the goals earlier in the year, I don’t think I would feel the level of satisfaction I now feel seeing that I am making real progress. It’s often hard to see the outcome of your efforts when change gradually happens over time.”

Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by GenMed, a division of Pfizer Canada.