A study of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s (RPS’s) mentoring programme has found that help with career development is a common motivation for pharmacists on the programme.
A semi-structured interview-based study of 20 participants — mentees, mentors and those who had signed up as both — published in Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy found that “most mentees [were] seeking advice and support on career progression either within their role, or when they sought to move between different settings of practice”.
The RPS has had mentoring systems in place since 2010, but in October 2019 the programme was relaunched with a new platform, which currently has around 1,500 participants. The prime objective of the platform is to “support the professional and personal advancement of pharmacists, with a focus on career development”, the study report said.
The study found that mentors tended to value “being able to contribute to the development of others and give back to the profession”, and some said it helped them to “reconnect with the profession”. They also generally felt that it was not a mentor’s role to tell a mentee what they should do, but rather to offer reassurance and encouragement.
Some mentors reported feeling confident in their role even if they did not have expertise in the specific subject area that their mentee was looking for, as long as they were able to signpost to suitable assistance. However, others did not feel comfortable mentoring unless they had that specific expertise.
Mentees highlighted that they were looking for mentors with “specific experience and knowledge that they could learn from”, and that, prior to their mentoring experience, they were unaware of the range of possibilities for career progression.
Mentees were also found to value mentors “openly sharing their failures”.
The authors noted that issues of race and ethnicity did not arise in the current study, probably because the participants in the study were from a small, homogenous group. But the authors noted that this is a consideration that must be taken into account as the mentoring platform “grows and strives for continued improvement”.
The future direction of the mentoring platform will also include delivery of training for mentors and expert mentoring for credentialing programmes, the study report said.