Critical Reflection And Evaluation Of Performance As A Mentor In Supporting Workplace Learning (Midwifery)

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Critical Reflection and Evaluation of Performance as a Mentor in Supporting Workplace Learning (Midwifery)

Critical Reflection and Evaluation of Performance as a Mentor in Supporting Workplace Learning (Midwifery)


In my point of view, the term mentor is one with a long history. Health care professionals, for example, who have served as mentors report greater use of their experience, improved skills, and increased satisfaction with their profession. Mentoring is an activity or relationship that occurs between two or more persons interested in advancing their knowledge, skills or position via a helping relationship. (Allen, Poteet, & Russell, 2000) A mentoring relationship is one in which a more skilled or knowledgeable person assists another who possesses less knowledge and/or skill in a particular area. These relationships typically last beyond a single encounter and can be either formal, informal, or some combination of the two. By definition, mentoring begins as a hierarchical relationship in which the mentor and protegé engage in a variety of roles and functions to support the protege's learning and development. Most mentoring relationships follow a predictable path and over time develop into a more collégial relationship that allows for reciprocity and mutuality between the mentor and protegé. Although, the concept of mentoring can be traced back to Greek mythology, no systematic studies of mentoring were conducted until the early 1970s. This paper evaluates strategies used to provide effective coaching and facilitation of learning in health care profession.


Mentoring relationships have been documented in the literature since antiquity (Schwiebert, 2000). The first use of the term mentor is credited to Homer in his third book of the Odyssey. In this Greek myth, Odysseus, a great royal warrior, calls upon his friend Mentor to serve as a guide and advisor to the entire royal household when Odysseus leaves to fight the Trojan wars. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, takes the form of Mentor and accompanies and guides Telemachus, Odysseus's son, on a journey in search of his father. During this journey, Telemachus strives for and develops a new and fuller identity, hence the parallels between Telemachus's journey and that of the modern day protegé.

Mentor-apprentice relationships have also been documented through the development of artisans' guilds as a means to pass on particular skills and ways of being. In these settings, a more experienced and typically older adult educated, challenged, and supported the younger adult or protegé (Schwiebert, 2000). The protegé remained in the mentoring relationship until he or she learned and could demonstrate the knowledge and practices of that particular craft. The practice of mentoring allowed members of guilds or professions an agreed-upon process through which they could transmit the specific technical and intellectual heritage of their discipline to selected individuals. Thus, mentoring served as means for selection, education, and continuity within professions.

The Nature of Mentoring

Mentoring occurs along a continuum, from formal mentoring at one end to informal mentoring at the other end. The distinguishing characteristics of a formal mentoring relationship describe the nature, purpose, duration, and quality of the ...
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