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The Role of Peer Mentoring for Ensuring that Services are Well-led
Defining and agreeing a range of policies and procedures for the practice team to follow are long-term processes. The process consists of a step-by-step approach in which the team creates and reviews the detail of those polices before introducing them as working practises. It’s an organic process that drives the evolution of the practice’s culture.
Creating an effective induction process
Bringing new team members up to speed is time consuming, however when a structured and well performed induction promotes the inclusion of the new person into the practice team, it’s a worthwhile investment of time and energy. Whether welcoming new people into your growing, or changing team is a frequent or a very rare event, creating a mentoring culture within the induction process helps new staff to become valuable members of your existing team.
Now that maintaining Quality standards is more important than ever before and because CQC Fundamental Standards highlight the need for dental services to be well led and the continuously improving enabling the team with structured team support measures is an essential part of good management. Practices running peer mentoring programmes respond to this requirement. They also provide opportunities to add additional skills sets within the team and enable the dental business to cascade the skills and aptitudes of their most valued staff to new staff, duplicating these qualities in new recruits and more junior team members.
The aims of peer mentoring are to:
- Promote a sense of belonging and pride for new team members;
- Reinforce the team values and procedures for existing staff acting as a mentor;
- Cascade CPD within the team.
Standards of Care
Peer mentoring plays a valuable role in establishing standards of dental care. It provides ongoing support as new team members adapt to their new workplace and develop their skills, knowledge, understanding to fit in to your team. Those involved in peer education and peer mentoring make an important contribution to the continuous improvement of the business.
The mentoring process should span the new team members induction period. Dependent upon the size of the practice; it will be a progressive process, as the new employee moves from one mentor to the next to cover their expert knowledge and experience of each part of the practice, with its associated policies and procedures, the mentoring approach is a much more effective way of introducing practice policies and procedures than simply giving the new person the practice handbook to work their way through. When using a mentoring approach peer relationships between dental professionals develop top be one-to-one, non-judgmental and based on shared experiences. Peer mentors offer practical hands-on support from a position of real understanding. They can develop the content of each individual’s mentoring programmes based on the needs of the individual and the practice. Effective peer mentoring programmes give any dental professional involved the opportunity to learn and develop valuable skills and qualities in a familiar context.
Glenys Bridges – QCS Expert Dental Contributor