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First GP mentors in Highland

20th March 2019

For the first time in Highland GPs working in the area now have access to mentor support to help promote staff health and wellbeing.

NHS Highland's Mentoring Scheme, which saw the first trained mentors graduate in 2016, was recently extended to include GPs as trained mentors and a group of 10 mentors were successful in graduating last month (February).

Dr Emma Watson, Associate Medical Director for Medical Education, Quality and Transformation, explained that the aim of the scheme is to provide doctors at any stage across primary and secondary care with a safe space to discuss challenges, issues and decisions.

She said: "Mentoring programmes in healthcare are of well recognised benefit and the establishment of this scheme highlights NHS Highland's desire to provide medical staff with access to activities that promote staff health and wellbeing which will in turn lead to improved quality in all aspects of clinical work.

"Mentoring is an invaluable activity to allow professionals overcome challenges and take opportunities. Using a framework called ‘Egan’s Skilled Helper Model’ your mentor will work with you to find your own solutions to professional situations.

“The mentor, who will have completed mentoring training, will listen and ask questions, offer a space to think, help identify blind-spots and facilitate movement and change. It is completely confidential and totally separate from any assessment of appraisal."

‘Egan’s Skilled Helper Models’ uses a three stage approach to help the mentee by exploring the current situation, help identify in an ideal world what they want to achieve and what is a realistic goal to work on, and how best to achieve that ideal situation. They will use skills such as active listening, reflection and challenging blind spots to help the mentee achieve their goals.

Dr Watson added: “Mentoring supports medical staff in all aspects of their careers and professional development. It is an activity that promotes success within the workplace and I’m delighted that we have welcomed our first GP mentors."

GP Practices who took part were from the Western Isles, Orkney, Lochgilphead, Kilcreggan, Newtonmore, Inverness, Grantown on Spey, Munlochy and the Highland Hospice.

Dr Kirsty Brightwell, who is based in the Western Isles, said: “Having a GP mentor has helped me to gain perspective, build on my own strengths and abilities to move to action. I feel that this approach is enormously beneficial in work but also in life generally and I believe all GPs could benefit from this resource.”


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