What is a mentor?
“A mentor is someone who takes on the role of a trusted adviser, supporter, teacher or a wise counsel to another person.
The very basic tenant is that…
Everyone (especially gifted and intelligent doctors) are creative and can solve their own problems and wisely develop their own lives and careers. This can be aided by a skilled mentor who listens and gives information.
Listening is the DNA, the building block of being a WARD advisor. Listen with attention, appreciation, encouragement and common humanity for the other.
Giving information & advice
If you have factual information or obvious advice – give it
But giving advice may have limitations - what worked for you then may not work for another now
Try this 3-step method for problems without obvious answers:
“The present situation?” (What’s going on?)
“What would be preferable?” (Ideally where would you want to be?)
“What choices do you have?” (How will you get there?)
Then add you own thought and ideas
Asking open questions
Asking open questions is a friendly way to engage people in a conversation and to prevent you leaping to assumptions.
Open questions begin with the following words: WHY, HOW, WHAT, DESCRIBE, TELL ME ABOUT..., OR WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT...
Closed questions begin with the following words: ARE YOU..., DID HE.., WON’T THEY…, are useful for specific information (“do you know where to get a cup of tea at night?”) but may close down conversation to yes or no or sound jundgemental. It’s the difference between “shouldn’t you lose weight!” versus “how are you going to look after yourself?”
What if the trainee has a really serious problem that needs more expert help than me?
Listen even if you can’t help
Advise them the problem needs expert help
Suggest they see the appropriate professional or someone who might know
Places to seek help
Clinical Supervisor / Educational Supervisor / Mentor
College Tutor / DME
Defence Union (MDU/MPS)
Family and Friends
Counselling available from most hospitals (occupational health, GP, BMA, GMC)
Further information If you would like to discuss how you are getting on with your WARD advisor role – you can contact your local hospital WARD lead or WARD head office: or Sally Webber (trained mentor/coach and WARD advisor: firstname.lastname@example.org)
For a powerpoint version of the above information, please click below.
Sally Webber 2019