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To develop and evaluate a mentorship program for hospital pharmacists that was implemented at St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, in Hamilton, Ontario, by identifying the benefits and challenges that participants experienced and determining whether the program provided the necessary skills for a successful mentoring relationship. Concevoir et evaluer un programme de mentorat pour les pharmaciens d’hopitaux mis sur pied au St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, a Hamilton, en Ontario, en determinant les avantages et les problemes connus des participants et si le programme a confere les competences necessaires a une relation de mentorat fonctionnelle. St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is a 650-bed academic teaching hospital affiliated with McMaster University.
The objectives of the research component of the project were to identify the benefits and challenges that mentors and mentees experienced when participating in the Pharmacist Mentorship Program and to determine whether the program gave mentors and mentees the necessary skills for a successful mentoring relationship. This paper describes the process used by the pharmacy department to complete the pilot project and reports the related research outcomes. A steering committee (consisting of the authors of this paper) was established to guide project development and evaluation.
The Pharmacist Mentorship Program was evaluated through a descriptive pilot study that ran from June 2007 to November 2008.
As part of the funding allotment, mentors and mentees were given a stipend for their participation in the project (equivalent to 30 hours at overtime rate). On average, the mentor–mentee pairs met formally twice a month, with informal meetings in between. Mentees were asked to rate their ability to establish learning objectives on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = not at all, 10 = absolutely). Mentors and mentees were asked to assess their perceived level of competency and skill demonstrated in the mentoring relationship. At both the initial evaluation and the end of the study, the mentors listed a number of factors motivating them to participate in the project as a mentor: wanting to support the department, benefiting from a past experience in a positive mentoring relationship, acting as a support to new staff, and helping to recognize the mentoring role in everyday encounters. Mentors and mentees were asked if their level of job satisfaction had improved through participation in the Pharmacist Mentorship Program. Mentors and mentees were asked to describe obstacles or challenges that they had encountered in the mentoring relationship.
All mentors and mentees indicated that they would have participated in the program even if there had been no financial compensation. When overall satisfaction with the Pharmacist Mentorship Program was ranked on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 = not at all satisfied and 10 = absolutely satisfied), both mentors and mentees reported high levels of satisfaction at both evaluation time points (Table 1). The major themes from the focus groups were similar at both the initial and the final evaluations (see Table 2). Pharmacists involved in the Pharmacist Mentorship Program at St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton found the program to be valuable, rewarding, and enjoyable, and there was a sense of pride among those who participated in the project. Both mentors and mentees reported increased job satisfaction through participation in the program. Mentors reported increased self-confidence in their ability to be a mentor over the duration of the project. The time spent on mentoring activities was not perceived as excessive by any of the participants, and the time required decreased over the course of the project, perhaps because the participants became more familiar with the mentoring process and relationship and there was less ongoing documentation to be completed as the project progressed. Overall satisfaction with the Pharmacist Mentorship Program was high and increased over time for both mentors and mentees.
The ability to capture long-term meaningful outcomes was limited by the short timeframe and small sample size of the study. Through this project, the steering committee (the authors of this article) learned a tremendous amount about mentoring (including differences between mentoring and precepting, mentoring theory, outcomes and evaluation of mentoring, methods for mentor–mentee pairing) and also learned how a mentoring program can complement other programs in the department (specifically the pharmacy residency program and undergraduate pharmacy student placements) to facilitate personal and professional growth. An important initial step in the program’s development was to clearly distinguish the differences between mentoring and precepting.
Data obtained during the focus groups regarding keys to success and sustainability for the program (such as successful matching, mentor patience, support and structure for mentees, ongoing input from management, and integration into the departmental culture) will be instrumental in improving the program.
On the basis of feedback from participants in the Pharmacist Mentorship Program, a number of enhancements to the program are planned. The pharmacist mentorship pilot project at St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton was well received by participants. No author submission fees, publication time measured in days, not months, and crowdsourced, post-publication review - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Stimulate focused retrospective studies that provide detailed, objective insight into clinical experiences.
Cureus is on a mission to change the long-standing paradigm of medical publishing, where submitting research can be costly, complex and time-consuming. Background: Mentoring was developed in the USA in the 1970s within large private-sector corporations to support junior staff. Objectives: To explore how teachers in medical and dental education understand their role as mentors.
Methodology: Cross sectional analytic study was conducted at MMMC Melaka from February 2013 to May 2013. Conclusion: It was concluded that the roles, tasks and communication of mentor and mentees should be standardized. This is an open access poster distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Browsing Cureus with Internet Explorer may cause issues when scoring, reviewing or submitting articles. Focus groups and self-administered questionnaires were conducted at two time points (after 3–4 months and at the end of the study period). Des groupes de discussion et des questionnaires autoadministres ont ete realises a deux moments (apres 3–4 mois et a la fin de l’etude). The pharmacy department has 1 director, 5 managers (1 of whom manages the retail pharmacies), and 27 inpatient staff pharmacists. It was anticipated that the Pharmacist Mentorship Program would facilitate professional growth and clinical practice competencies by formalizing a supportive relationship between a pharmacist mentor and mentee. The steering committee handled strategic planning, day-today operations, and the evaluation components of the project. At the start of the program, the mentors had been employed at St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton for an average of 4 years and the mentees for 1 year or less. At the initial evaluation, the median rating for the 3 mentees was 7 (minimum 6, maximum 9). At the initial evaluation, all 3 mentors and 2 of the mentees reported some improvement, and the third mentee reported significant improvement. Motivating factors for mentees included increased comfort level in a new career, development of a professional relationship with another pharmacist, and establishing and meeting new learning goals.



Both mentors and mentees reported increased levels of job satisfaction at the final evaluation (Table 1). At the initial evaluation, the median rating was 8 (minimum 5, maximum 9), and at the final evaluation, the ratings were 6 and 10.
Both groups identified scheduling difficulties (in terms of scheduling meetings and completing learning objectives) and the significant requirements for documentation as challenges at both the initial and the final evaluations. Specific definitions within these major themes varied slightly between mentors and mentees. Mentees were successful in identifying and meeting learning objectives throughout the project. Mentors rated this aspect more highly than mentees, which suggests that involving experienced employees in this type of program has a positive impact on the quality of their work life, which is a factor in staff retention. This is an important finding, as some of the mentors, when initially approached about the project, were unsure about their ability to mentor. The positive experience of the Pharmacist Mentorship Program was highlighted, along with many specific benefits to the mentors and mentees, the pharmacy department, and the hospital.
This result supports the understanding that long-term mentoring relationships are needed to achieve maximum benefits. Because this was a small pilot study, it was not possible to draw any significant statistical conclusions from the data. Although members of the steering committee were well versed in the characteristics and functions of a preceptor, the role of a mentor needed clear definition. A member of the steering committee met with the pair to review the reasons for dissolving the relationship and to ensure that closure took place. The training material and documentation forms will be streamlined and transformed for online delivery.
Career support in medicine—experiences with a mentoring program for junior physicians at a university hospital.
Implementing a mentorship program for pharmacists integrating into family practice: practical experience from the IMPACT project team. Click below to find out how your organization can stand out from the crowded publishing field. Since the 1990s, mentoring programs have been introduced in various medical professions, most frequently in the field of nursing. All of the mentees reported improvements in their self-perceived level of competency and skill within the mentoring relationship and their confidence in their ability to perform the functions of a hospital pharmacist. Tous les mentores ont signale des ameliorations quant a leur perception de leur niveau de competence et d’habilete dans le cadre de leur relation de mentorat et quant a leur confiance dans leur capacite a executer les taches d’un pharmacien d’hopital. The department is committed to providing excellent clinical care to patients in the hospital. A literature review was conducted (MEDLINE, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts), and an expert in the field of mentoring was contacted for input (Dr H Lee Kilty, Brock University, personal communication, May 24, 2007). Mentees participated in individual orientation sessions presented by members of the steering committee. Throughout the program, the mentor–mentee pairs met regularly (as mutually agreed by each pair). In one of the mentor–mentee pairs, a perceived lack of benefit and a perceived lack of common goals for mentoring led to dissolution of the pairing. Participants were also asked to rate the usefulness of the tools that had been developed for the program.
Improved job satisfaction, professional development, relationship-building, and staff recruitment and retention were consistently identified as benefits of mentoring.
Both the mentors and the mentees noted that their confidence in performing hospital pharmacist functions increased over the course of the mentoring period. The lower ratings by mentees at the initial evaluation may simply reflect insufficient time to fully assess outcomes related to satisfaction. The identified benefits were consistent with those reported in other published studies of mentoring, including increased job satisfaction, increased confidence, and successful transition to new position.1,3–13 Challenges with scheduling and documentation were identified. However, the descriptive nature of the data will be helpful in modifying the program to better meet the needs of participants.
Summary charts identifying key differences between mentors and preceptors were available and were adapted for use in the project.2,17 A mentoring relationship is generally long-term, nurturing, and based on a role model.
Working through this event reinforced the need for a strong initial matching process, as well as the need to ensure that supports are in place to allow a formal end to the mentoring partnership while maintaining a professional and collegial relationship in the department. The program will be promoted within the department, and new mentors and mentees will be recruited.
She is also a Teaching Associate, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, OntarioAlice Huh, RPh, BScPhm, ACPR, is the Manager of Pharmacy Technical Services, Pharmacy Department, St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, in Hamilton, Ontario. The only formal clinical training program offered by the department is a 1-year hospital pharmacy residency program. In particular, a nursing mentorship document published by the Ontario Hospital Association1 was instrumental for developing the foundation on which the program was built.
The mentors consisted of a convenience sample of pharmacists who had been employed for a minimum of 3 years in the department.
Using resources provided in the mentorship manual, mentees identified 2 or 3 learning objectives and created an action plan (Appendix 4, available online). All available data, including partial data for the pair that was dissolved, are presented here.
Their goals were related to improving knowledge in clinical therapeutics, developing learning portfolios, and learning about pharmacy medication management systems.
Mentees also rated their ability to fulfill their learning objectives through the defined action plans.
Mentors and mentees were also asked if their confidence in their ability to perform the functions of a hospital pharmacist had improved after joining the mentorship program (rated on scale of 1 to 10, as above). At both the initial and the final evaluation, the tools were reported to be somewhat helpful (Table 1), with little change in results over time.
This may suggest that having a supportive relationship provides reciprocity and sharing of clinical knowledge of benefit to both mentor and mentee. Compatible pairings between mentors and mentees appeared to be associated with greater satisfaction within the program.
These challenges had been anticipated, as the Pharmacist Mentorship Program was an added responsibility of the participants, on top of their clinical work.


The structure of the program inherent in the research study protocol (particularly in terms of documentation) was more formal than generally recommended for mentoring relationships. It is both professional and personal in nature and focuses on supporting the ongoing learning needs of the mentee, with interactions often occurring during personal time. Processes will be developed to ensure that mentors receive ongoing support from the program coordinators. Mentor programmes are increasingly common in undergraduate medicine and dentistry and many positive effects have been reported. Quantitative data from the questionnaires were summarized as medians, minimums, and maximums, and qualitative survey data were transcribed and reviewed.
Les donnees quantitatives issues des questionnaires ont ete resumees selon des medianes, des minimums et des maximums, et les donnees qualitatives degagees des enquetes ont ete transcrites et analysees. Almost half of the department’s pharmacists are also trained as preceptors for pharmacy residents and pharmacy students.
The program was designed such that each mentor–mentee pairing would continue for a minimum of 12 months (to ensure the establishment of strong relationships).1 Criteria for mentors and mentees were developed.
The mentees consisted of a convenience sample of pharmacists who had been employed for less than 18 months in the department. Action plans included a variety of strategies to meet the learning objectives, such as readings, literature reviews, networking with colleagues at other facilities, and hands-on practice. At the initial evaluation, the median rating was 8 (minimum 6, maximum 10), and at the end of the study, the rating was 8 for both mentees. Both mentors and mentees reported increased confidence over the course of the project (Table 1). Mentors and mentees identified effective matching and adequate training (including the training materials) as key features for a successful mentoring relationship. Focus group themes and the qualitative data categories in the questionnaire contained a number of similar descriptions, which may allow informal validation of the findings. For example, mentors and mentees completed weekly learning logs to document their mentoring activities. In contrast, a precepting relationship is generally short-term (with a predetermined duration), formal, and professional. Regular, but separate, sessions with mentors and mentees will be arranged to encourage discussion and sharing of both positive and negative experiences.
Mentors and mentees reported high levels of overall satisfaction with the program, at both of the evaluation time points.
Les mentors et les mentores ont declare dans l’ensemble etre tres satisfaits du programme, aux deux moments d’evaluation.
There is no formal professional or clinical skills development curriculum in place for currently employed pharmacists, although biweekly education sessions are held to assist pharmacists in developing their clinical therapeutic knowledge.
Mentors and mentees were asked to complete weekly logs (Appendix 5, available online), which documented the types of mentoring activities completed each week, along with the time spent on these activities. Mentors were also asked if the Pharmacist Mentorship Program had given them sufficient knowledge and confidence to be a mentor. Time constraints, scheduling difficulties, and documentation requirements were noted as challenges of the program.
It is focused on specific learning related to meeting the objectives of the rotation, with interactions occurring mostly during work hours.
Eventually, it is hoped that a similar program will be offered for the pharmacy technicians in the department. Although informal mentoring is part of the departmental culture, it has not been well defined, nor is formal mentoring activity required of staff. A mentorship toolkit, including a manual and DVD, was created for use by mentors and mentees. Qualitative and quantitative data about the mentorship experience were collected from participants, by means of questionnaires and focus groups led by an external certified facilitator from the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University. The median rating for mentors was 6 (minimum 5, maximum 9) at the initial evaluation, and the ratings were 7 and 9 at the final assessment. Mentors felt that providing sufficient support to mentors was important to consider for sustaining the program over the long term. However, the information collected through this documentation allowed them to review and highlight what they had accomplished. There are also opportunities to share the program’s framework and materials with other health care disciplines at St Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. It was thought that establishing a formal mentorship program would give pharmacists an opportunity for professional development in a structured manner, would add another level of support to new staff in the department, and might increase the career satisfaction of more senior staff. The manual provided information on mentoring, adult learning styles, managing conflict, providing feedback, critical thinking, and developing learning objectives and associated action plans. Mentees felt that the program should be promoted in the department to ensure its sustainability.
In 2007, the pharmacy department received one-time funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to develop, implement, and evaluate the Pharmacist Mentorship Program. The manual also included forms and guidelines to support the mentoring relationship and evaluate the program. The questions in the questionnaire were categorized into skills and knowledge, quality of work life, workload, challenges, training, and general questions. Box 1 lists some narrative quotes from the participants to highlight their experience with the program.
The questionnaire data were subjected to descriptive analyses generating median, minimum, and maximum values. At the time of writing (late 2010), a series of modules was being developed to assist mentees and mentors in identifying and addressing learning needs (in research, management, clinical practice, and teaching). The pharmacy department plans to convert all of the program material to a web-based format that will be accessible through the hospital’s intranet.
The focus groups were administered separately for mentors and mentees and followed a semistructured interview guide (Appendix 6, available online). Data were summarized according to the categories in the focus group guide, and responses were collated.



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