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.
The English Oxford Dictionary has the following:
‘The ultimate goal of remediation and support is to provide non-punitive, confidential, voluntary programs focused on rehabilitation and re-entry into practice while ensuring public safety.’ English Oxford Dictionary.
I feel that fits very well with the remediation of a dental professional, although some may quibble with non-punitive and voluntary given the alternative. Having set the scene for remediation, I want to think how mentoring can add value to the process. The word mentor has a number of definitions, in this instance I like “trusted adviser” and “wise person”. When you stumble having another person to help pick you up and set you back on the right road is just what you need. For a mentor working in remediation in addition to the characteristics all mentors demonstrate it’s helpful to have the following: a knowledge of the remediation process; an understanding of tools, for example audit, personal development plans, multi-source feedback, patient surveys. With that knowledge a mentor can signpost their mentee appropriately to gain evidence of their remediation.
Ethical mentoring is core to a mentoring relationship but this is particularly important if your mentee is working through remediation. A mentor needs to be keenly aware where the boundaries of confidentiality and disclosure are to be drawn. A topic in its’ own right.
The real value of remediation mentoring is in supporting and knowing what advice the mentee needs at each stage of their remediation. Very often the mentor can provide the motivation the mentee needs to help them see a way through their remediation. Remediation mentoring is often not a straight line towards the goal of the mentee. There can be false starts and loops back, not unlike playing a game of snakes and ladders. Without a trusted colleague as your mentor navigating the path can seem impossible.
When you mentor for remediation you are truly mentoring in the ‘ask and know’ area of mentoring. The mentor asks what the mentee needs, knows the response that will help and is willing to share and support the mentee in moving forward. Often when an individual begins the remediation process they don’t know the questions they need to ask, they can feel confused, anxious and alone. A skilled mentor can help to clear away the confusion and work with their mentee to set a course that gets them back on track.
English Oxford on-line dictionary.
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/remediation (accessed 27.1.17)