Defining Mentorship 3
Classical Mentorship 4
Modern Mentorship – Mentors as Assessors 8
The Role Of The Mentor
Mentor, mentoring and mentorship are terms that have received increasing attention in health related circles over the last thirty years. In the ten years between 1978 and 1988 the number of references in the ‘ERIC’ database, which included ‘mentor’ as a keyword, increased from 10 to 95, Jacobi (1991). The literature of the following twenty years has continued this growth at a phenomenal rate, and to date there are over 2850 entries.
The term ‘mentor’ is however not a recent phenomenon, and has its roots in Greek mythology. Legend has it that Homer entrusted the guidance and teaching of his son, Telemachus, to his closest friend ‘Mentor’, Fields (1991). In more recent times, the eminent French writer Francois Fenelon used a man named ‘Mentor’ as the lead character in his book "Les Aventures de Telemaque", which was published in 1699, Roberts (1999). Following the publication of Fenelon’s ‘Les Aventures de Telemaque’, the term ‘mentor’ took the meaning of an older, wiser and more experienced person who takes the responsibility for a younger, more inexperienced persons learning and development, Andrews (1999).
Historically, the Ambulance Service has had little affiliation with Higher Education, and as such there has been little motivation to develop staff to become ‘mentors’. Training and competency assessments were generally carried out by Institute of Health Care Development (IHCD) accredited Instructors, and trainee’s learnt their ‘trade’ in a vocational setting, under the guidance of State Registered Paramedics. This model has previously been described as an ‘apprenticeship’, and has been the recipient of much criticism, due to it’s limitations in the preparation of practitioners, Kilcullen (2007).
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