How Can We Improve Mentoring in the Healthcare Space?

In this article we talk about what mentorship is, why it matters, and how hospitals can use it to improve patient outcomes.

Work Review« Back to Articles

Mentoring has waned somewhat in the last few decades. This has never been more true than now, in an era where many people never even meet their coworkers face to face. And yet there is a reason mentoring has been such an important part of the professional scene since the beginning of organised labour.

People learn more from each other than they do from school in certain cases. Incoming healthcare professionals can benefit significantly from the experience of the people who came before them. And very few healthcare systems have programs in place that are designed to support and grow mentorship.

In this article we talk about what mentorship is, why it matters, and how hospitals can use it to improve patient outcomes.

What is Mentorship?

Mentorship is basically just one person learning from the experience of someone else. Sometimes these relationships develop organically. A new hire will naturally gravitate toward a more experienced coworker when they find themselves with a question. If the more experienced employee is receptive, a friendship can develop.

Unfortunately, these relationships don’t always happen on their own. Hospital workers are busy and new hires may feel shy about asking their peers to take time out of their schedules to handle mundane questions.

Hospitals can improve the odds of employees developing mentorship relationships, but why should they bother trying?

Below, we take a look at a few benefits that can arise from a strong mentorship dynamic.

Mentorships Can Help Improve Retention

It’s a startling fact that as many as half of all nurses will leave the profession entirely within their first five years. Why? While everyone has their own reasons for leaving one of the most common is pretty straightforward. Nursing is hard. Mentors can’t do much to change that but they can help their protegees cope with the job's many challenges.

Mentors often offer sage advice that can help make the challenges of the job more manageable. They are also uniquely capable of lending an ear to problems. Healthcare workers see a lot of hard things. It can be difficult to go home to a family meal after losing a patient or just experiencing the stress of the job.

Veterans are able to sympathise with these experiences in a way that friends and family might not be able to.

Mentors Can Provide Valuable Insights

Mentors may also just come from a different background than their protegee. Connecting two people from different racial or cultural groups can help foster community understanding that improves the hospital’s working dynamic while also boosting the patient experience.

Hospitals and many other organisations are forming DEI boards that are designed to help improve diversity awareness and sensitivity. These programs are excellent, but simple conversations between friends and coworkers can be used to foster and grow their impact.

Improved Patient Outcomes

Finally, experienced hospital workers also just have a better idea of what they are doing than their new-hire counterparts. While many businesses can afford to let their new-hires have a learning curve, hospitals can’t.

Getting support and insights from a skilled healthcare worker can help new hires improve their own performance, thus boosting patient outcomes in the process. In terms of outcome-boosting strategies, getting coworkers to sit down and chat every once in a while is one of the most affordable and sustainable options available.

Now we know the benefits of mentorship programs, but how can hospitals make them happen?


It’s important to remember that mentors are taking time from their own busy lives to help someone else. Protegees, on the other hand, are being asked to step outside of their comfort zones to ask questions and interact with someone they don’t know.

What’s their motive? If hospitals are serious about using mentorships as a way to improve their work environment and boost patient outcomes they need to provide employees with incentives to make it happen.

One method is simply to schedule times for protegees and mentors to meet up and discuss the job. By having this take place during the course of their shift, the hospital ensures that neither employee is falling behind on anything else to accommodate the meeting.

Of course, healthcare is busy work and it’s not always possible to carve out thirty minutes of the day for a scheduled conversation. Hospitals can overcome this problem by highlighting the benefits of mentoring or offering a financial incentive for employees who participate in mentorship outside of working hours.

It’s a fast, easy, and relatively affordable way to improve retention and general healthcare outcomes.

To learn more about how mentoring can be used in your healthcare institution, book a free demonstration with a member of the PushFar team today.

This article was guest written by Andrew Deen.

Welcome to PushFar, the world's largest mentoring platform. Whether you're looking to find a mentor or launch your own mentoring programs and schemes, we can help.
Looking for a mentor or to become a mentor?
Join Now Free Running your own mentoring programs?
Request a Demo

Explore more articles...

Similar mentoring, career progression and learning articles and resources by PushFar, you might like to read.

Go Further, with PushFar.

What are you looking for in your mentoring journey?
Individual Mentoring - Join Free
Organisation Solutions - Request a Demo