Dental Mentors UK have watched the unfolding tragedy in the Ukraine with shock and extreme dismay. It is a deeply distressing time for everyone, particularly those with family in Ukraine.
Two of our DMUK members have written a series of articles which appeared in BDJ In Practice earlier this year.
In the first of three articles, published on the 10th May 2021, Mabel Saw and Janine Brooks MBE introduce the concept of mentoring, touching on some of its uses in general practice, especially under the current unique climate we find ourselves in.
This new book written by DMUK's Janine Brooks and Helen Caton-Hughes provides an understanding of the theory of coaching and mentoring with practical applications within the field of dentistry
Dr Zaid Al-Najjar, Deputy Medical Director of the service explains how NHS Practitioner Health can help dentists with mental health and addiction issues.
NHS Practitioner Health is a free and confidential service which specialises in treating doctors and dentists with mental illness and/or addiction issues. We recognise that this professional group face specific difficulties when wishing to access mainstream healthcare. They also find it difficult to switch from being a treating practitioner to a patient. Dentists have a higher rate of mental health and substance misuse problems compared to the general public along with double the suicide rate.
As we all know the dental profession is struggling with extremely difficult times, perhaps the most difficult time we have ever experienced.
A group of dental professionals from all registration categories, who are also qualified/very experienced mentors have come together to provide pro bono mentoring sessions for colleagues and final year students.
The first conference specifically for mentoring in dentistry was held on October 20th 2018, kindly hosted by the British Dental Association (BDA) at Wimpole St., London, attended by over 60 delegates.
The day began with a trio of excellent key note speakers, led by Professor David Clutterbuck, the internationally renowned authority on mentoring. Yvonne Coghill CBE FRCN gave a deeply personal and UK health-service perspective and Catherine Rutland gave the audience plenty to ponder from the private sector viewpoint.
Professor Clutterbuck began the proceedings taking a broad-brush approach to mentoring. Yvonne narrowed the focus to healthcare and Catherine described how Simply health professionals were applying mentoring in support of their practices and practitioners.
The three key note speakers led the delegates in a panel discussion that was both deep and wide reaching. There was an unexpected gift to delegates when Professor Clutterbuck generously offered all delegates a copy of his work – “How to ask powerful questions”.
Delegate feedback was excellent for all the key note speakers, including:
“Awesome to hear such a guru speak”, “Amazing context. Made me feel confident of taking up mentoring as my give back to the profession” and “Inspiring lecture that taught me the importance of not giving up following knock backs.”
This session was followed by parallel streams led by three speakers well known to many participants: Alasdair Miller, Joanne Brindley and Sally Strazzanti. They introduced delegates to; “Mindsets in Mentoring”; “What can Sinatra teach us?”; and “Mentoring for Resilience.”
More small group practical sessions were led by Pam Coates, Bob Hughes, Fiona Ellwood and Hoda Wassif. These session topics included: “Stepping from Associate to Practice owner”; “Mentoring principles”; “Ethical practice and mentoring agreements” and “Culture sensitive mentoring”
A mentoring café held at lunch time with experienced mentors offering taster 15-minute mentoring sessions to delegates provided very successful.
The organisers, Dental Coaching Academy, were delighted that delegates came from far and wide to attend this first dental mentoring conference and from across the dental team.
One delegate summed up the day in one word: FAB - U - LOUS! and it certainly was.
Don’t miss next year’s conference – hold the date – November 23rd 2019.
Every dental professional deserves a mentor.
Mentoring is probably the best tool for supporting performance quality in dental professionals. It's an expression of our values and culture as a caring profession.
I believe it's time to get serious and give trained mentoring the attention it deserves; which is why I'm supporting the 2018 Dental Conference: Mentoring at the BDA's London office on 20 October, find out more below.
Five top tips on mentoring and finding a mentor - https://www.bda.org/news-
Janine Brooks is a founder member of Dental Mentors UK - click here to read her profile
Working with a mentor as you prepare for an interview is time well invested in your future. Any interview can be nerve wracking and it often doesn’t get any easier the more interviews you have or the longer you have worked in the profession. Dental professionals can struggle more than most as we often have fewer jobs throughout our career which means fewer interviews.
Some mentors will have more experience of conducting interviews, for example, those who work in larger organisations, for example Trusts, Corporates and Education establishments. When looking for a mentor to help you prepare for an interview these are the experiences to look for in your potential mentor. They will have constructed job descriptions and person specifications, they will have short listed candidates and conducted interviews. They will be used to formulating questions for interviews and can help you understand how to present yourself at your very best.
Another way that a mentor can help is to undertake a mock interview with you, this is great experience to build your confidence and give you practice in answering (and asking) questions. The feedback they give you will improve your performance at the real interview.
A mentor can help you to prepare how you look to ensure you present a confident, professional image in the way you dress and your body language. They can act as a mirror, picking up on mannerisms that you may not be aware of but that could affect your success.
Jane Davies-Slowik is a founder member of DMUK to read her profile click here
If you Google ‘Career mentoring’ you will pull up thousands of articles in newspapers, academic papers, university websites and business websites all discussing the benefits of having a mentor to help you to plan your way forward and the next steps you need to take to improve your chances of achieving your aspirations.
Mentoring is used most often to help people transition between career stages. Mentors can be useful whether you are stuck in a rut or at a transitional point in your career and can act as great catalysts to take your career to its next stage. Any dental professional can benefit from having a mentor at times when they are considering their future career, whether they want to explore taking on a new clinical area of expertise, would like to start teaching or a management role, moving areas, or developing academic potential.
Every organisation is different, from the megalith of the NHS to the small independent dental practice, thus the capacity to deliver and receive effective mentoring will vary with the environment. Such variation may not directly relate to the size of the organisation, but more importantly to the dynamics within it. The concept of mentoring may be well accepted, as generally within the NHS. The corporate environment demonstrates a much wider variation in acceptance of the concept. In a very controlling organisation the use of external mentors may be frowned upon, internal mentors may then be influencing rather than mentoring.
Janine Brooks is one of the founder mentors of Dental Mentors UK
In dentistry, when we refer to remediation we generally mean the process of supporting a dental professional whose performance has fallen below the standards expected of us, as set by the General Dental Council. The word covers a multitude of processes, interventions and tools that need to come together.
Each remediation package or programme will be unique and tailored to the specific needs of the dental professional who has under performed.
Barry was Chief Dental Officer for England between 2005 and 2015. He graduated from Birmingham University in 1973 and spent the majority of his clinical career in largely NHS practice. He represented the profession locally and nationally through his local LDC and his membership of BDA committees. He was awarded a CBE in the 2010 new year honours list and after retirement joined Mydentist as a Non Executive Director.
I have had the privilege of being involved in the Birmingham University Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme for nearly five years.
Mentoring is a fantastic way to put something back into our society but I have discovered it is more than that. My mentees have all been dental students at Birmingham and, despite all being different, I think they have all enjoyed and benefited in some way from the scheme.
What has surprised me most is how much I have benefited from my involvement.
Young dental students carry no baggage, are open, questioning, eager to learn and understand but, most importantly, they are the future of our profession.
Why do we need Personal Development Plans (PDPs)?
Most of us will have an idea of our career plans for the next 12 months and have thought about the professional development we need during the year to meet our goals, even if we plan to carry on as usual making sure we do our allotted continuing professional development (CPD) as determined by the General Dental Council (GDC).
But are you sometimes bamboozled with the amount of CPD available on-line, off- line, distance learning, new guidelines, Postgraduate diplomas, certificates, dental magazines, via e-mails, fliers, or local dental education providers, specialist societies etc ?.
It’s easier to decide what CPD you’re going to do, if you have an idea of your priorities for learning so that the money and time you spend is effective and increases your skills and confidence. We sometimes keep this in our heads, but it’s easier to make sure that you follow your plan and do not miss out anything vital if it’s written down, (much like patient records!).
Most of us want to be successful and have a good life. What is success? We are all different and have different needs and aspirations and so what is important to one person may not be to another. Success I would suggest is about achieving goals we have set and becoming more proficient at things we do. What is known about achieving goals?
Professor Anders Ericsson and colleagues studied what makes an expert and discovered the key factors are practice coupled with feedback both from experts and equally important the ‘inner coach’. They found it took about ten thousand hours of practice. This equates to about ten years based on the average working week. If you think about things you feel very proficient at, how many hours or years did it take you? How much did you need external feedback and how much came from self-critiquing?
What is it about feedback that is so important, whether it be by others or self (inner coach)? It is the passing of observations and the asking of questions that raises one’s awareness of what one is doing so that you can choose to do it differently next time. When the changes achieve better results the next time it re-enforces the change you have made and if repeated regularly it becomes a habit so improving performance and leads to achieving success.
Mentoring is increasingly being seen as a way of helping and supporting the development of people and in our case, dental professionals. The word mentor has come to mean trusted adviser, friend, teacher and wise person. In dentistry we are beginning to appreciate the benefits of mentoring and more and more dental professionals have undertaken training to become successful mentors.
Mentoring focuses on the present and on the mentees future, desired outcomes. The mentor supports their mentee to achieve those outcomes or goals, through a reflective, conversational process. Your mentor will be able to offer fresh insights to issues you are grappling with, perhaps because they have dealt with similar situations themselves in the past. Importantly a mentor can help you to foresee difficulties and work through your approach to overcome barriers and obstacles.
“Mentoring is a developmental relationship where one person, typically older, or more experienced, or with more expert technical knowledge, willingly and freely shares their knowledge, skills, information and perspective to support the personal and professional growth of someone else. In some cases the mentor may also share their contacts or networks.” (The Forton Group 2013)
Mentoring is about a relationship rather than a process. This means the crucial element of successful mentoring is the rapport between a mentor and their mentee. It’s not traditional teaching or the simple transfer of knowledge from one person to another, it’s about supporting, helping and gentle guiding .
‘Mentoring means helping people to become better at helping themselves, helping them develop their opportunities and manage their problems, helping them become more effective, more functional, more empowered members of the workforce.’
Nancy Redfern, Specialty Dean, Northern Deanery
Mentoring has slowly been gaining a position of acceptance and value within dentistry since the 1990s and gradually dental professionals are becoming familiar with the term and the concept and benefits of mentoring. However, there is still considerable confusion over what mentoring is and is not. It can often be confused with other methods of professional support. Counsellors tend to work with clinical issues and go back to the past before going forward. It’s often a one- way relationship. The key difference between the teacher and the mentor is that the teacher gives information, they know what needs to be taught and they tell their students what they need to know. A mentor has experience and will share that with the mentee, they are experts in their field. By contrast the coach is often not an expert or specialist in the field their coachee operates in. They ask probing questions to draw out solutions and clarity from the coachee.
Forton Group (2013) Foundations in Mentoring: A Model and Resources for Mentoring. www.thefortongroup.com