Mentoring newly appointed department heads--a new project review and initial findings

Dana Fishbain, Orit Bartor, Lilach Aviram, Ahuva Golik, Shai Ashkenazi, Leonid Eidelman

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


BACKGROUND: In Israel, the training of a department head is based mostly on clinical and professional aspects and often does not include any training in other facets of management he or she will encounter. The newly appointed department head is expected from the start to deal with many diverse tasks, and is exposed to great physical and emotional stress. The Israeli Medical Association, taking note of this situation, initiated a mentoring program for newly appointed heads of medical departments, clinics and units. This article seeks to present a preliminary description of our experience with this mentoring project, in which senior managers mentor novices in the position.

METHOD: An announcement of the new project was sent to both senior and beginning managers, detailing the project's goal. The project's content and structure were determined together with the participants, mentors and mentees. The values attending the project were delineated as full and genuine partnership, attention to needs, and personal choice of the mentee. Basic guidelines, adaptive to modification according to personal preferences, were developed based on these values. Though not readily assumed, our decision to allow mentees to choose their mentors was found to be suitable for this project. All participants, mentors and mentees, were asked to complete feedback forms in preparation for the final gathering of the group.

RESULTS: The first session of the project included 8 mentor and mentee couples. Feedback indicated a high suitability rate between mentor and mentee, which resulted in high levels of satisfaction among the mentees. Responses to feedback questionnaires depicted that the relationships between the mentors and mentees included trust, openness and a non-judgmental approach, which allowed mentees to share personal difficulties and develop plans to overcome them. Most mentees described the mentorship as providing leverage to personal growth. Mentors expressed satisfaction for the opportunity to contribute of their experience.

CONCLUSIONS: The success of the first session and the satisfaction expressed by its participants serve as an indication that the project met an existing need of beginning managers. The successful cooperation between mentors and mentees, closely accompanied by the professional staff, proved that beginning managers are more than willing to work alongside senior managers and learn from their vast experience. The writers believe there is a true need for mentorship for managers in our health system. The method depicted in this project was found to be efficient at this point. The next sessions of the project will allow us to identify more ways to match and oversee the mentor-mentee couples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-4, 66, 65
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


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