Since the earliest days of the medical profession, in situ peer-to-peer training – e.g. medical mentoring – has been the principal means by which doctors have acquired the fundamental skills and techniques. This remains the case today, during internships and residences at teaching hospitals. However, surgery and interventional medicine technologies are fast moving and these skills can be obsoleted by new tools and techniques. If traditional mentoring during the internship is still necessary, it’s no longer sufficient to ensure that physicians offer the best care to their patients, incorporating in their practice worthy innovations in techniques and technology.
To answer this challenge, medical mentoring should happen regularly throughout a specialist’s career. We advocate that real life training coordinated by an expert should be easily accessible for any practitioner. Lifelong medical mentoring will allow medical professionals to update their expertise and familiarize themselves with innovations in their field.
Medical Mentoring: a Distinguished History
Since the beginning of time, medical students have been acquiring solid grounding in new skills via this cyclical process. After receiving theoretical training, they watch and/or shadow experienced professionals in the operating theater. Although unlike what one may think, medical mentoring doesn’t only applies to medical students but also to senior practitioners.
In addition to practical knowledge, medical mentoring allows senior medical practitioners to pass on vital practical skills in the profession…but not only! Medical mentoring is also a great way to tackle some of the most humane aspects of day-to-day medicine life: handling the death of a patient or informing next of kin, but also advising, encouraging and supporting junior personnel.
Thus, mentoring appears particularly adequate for meeting modern medicine challenges, and more specifically the need of being up to date on the ever changing innovations in the field. In the XXIst century, with increased competition between professionals and medical facilities, as well as increased pressure on costs and expenses, one has to get trained on new techniques and technologies to remain an expert in their field.
Acquiring New Techniques and Understanding New Technologies
Today’s advancements and innovations highlight more than ever the importance of in-situ training. Although often exciting, every new development in techniques poses a potential risk and should be carefully studied before being implemented. It is then vital for experts in the field to take the time to engage with less experienced or novice practitioners, so that progress can be made without threatening patient safety.
Peer-to-peer mentoring also helps non-expert clinicians, by answering critical questions such as:
- Why is this technique important for my practice?
- How big an investment in time and resources does it require to be mastered?
- Which patients should I select for such technique or technology?
Plus, medical mentoring is very useful for experienced specialists that seek to acquire new technologies or tools. Allowing exchanging and witnessing of the technology in real life setting with an expert mentor, medical mentoring sheds light on benefits and limitations of the technology. The trainees will thus understand how to make the best of this new technology regarding patients… and budget!
Nowadays, medical mentoring thus mainly focuses on experts helping their peers resolve specific questions and widen their skill sets. If the notion of building a lifelong relationship between an older mentor and a younger mentee is still on, it’s not the main focus anymore.
In-situ Training: Modern Mentoring for the 21st century
The globalized world in which we now live allows information knowledge be transmitted faster than ever before. However, expertise sharing one-to-one and shadowing on real cases remains critical for a doctor to be trained and to benefit from the experience of an expert. Surgeons and physicians who embrace this approach of lifelong mentoring by attending one-day real life sessions with the best experts in a particular technique on a regular basis will keep pace with the evolutions and innovations in their field.
They will become more proficient ans more confident. Ultimately, as rising experts, they will feel comfortable sharing their newfound knowledge with their peers. Studies have shown that when focused on the needs of the mentee, medical mentoring brings more rewarding careers in health and medicine for both trainer and trainee. In global terms, this sharing of expertise and shadowing of experts has the potential to create a virtuous circle of emulation and self-improvement that will benefit patient care in all specialties and all countries.
Whether you’re a surgeon or specialized doctor, trainer or trainee, if you’re looking to contribute to or take advantage of the latest medical developments in your area of expertise, register with Invivox and gain access to world-class in-situ training with specialists and experts in your field.