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Although there is no universally accepted definition of mentoring, the BASHH/British HIV Association (BHIVA) mentoring committee considers it to be a “personal helping relationship between a mentor and mentee/protégé that includes professional development and growth and varying degrees of support”.1 Mentoring is particularly helpful at times of change, such as when a specialist trainee becomes a consultant, taking on new roles and responsibilities. The relationship between mentor and mentee is crucial; it must be open, honest and transparent and most importantly driven by the needs of the mentee.
Mentoring is a confidential process with clear ethical boundaries, completely separate from line management, appraisal or performance assessment. Typically, the mentor helps the mentee formulate specific and realistic goals, and together they explore different ways these goals could be achieved, considering which option is most suitable for the mentee at that particular time. The mentor helps, guides and supports rather than gives specific advice.
In UK medicine, mentoring was first introduced in general …
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