21 Jan Sharing experiences enriches us all
Having retired from the NHS in April 2016, the last 26 years as a GP, I had plotted many ambitious plans to keep my body and mind active with fresh ideas. Mentoring has always been a dream of mine and soon afterwards, I have been involved with the University of Lancaster as well as Franklin college Grimsby. I was approached by the heads of the Career/Mentoring teams to provide personal, holistic and practical support to two budding medics here in Grimsby, and two potential research students at Lancaster.
I surprised myself into how smooth the transition was from being an NHS doctor about to retire, to being a fully fledged recognised mentor.
There were no time constraints for me, no major donkey work or chasing people up BUT I would recommend attending mentor courses if there are any locally and guide books to mentoring as a starter for ten (and there are many to choose from).
As of today, my two budding medics have already amassed a total of six medical school interviews between them in the forthcoming weeks, starting this week. Their statements required bold innovative changes and it was satisfying personally to see the work we all put in together paid off.
For the Lancaster pair, we have started with the CV rhetoric and how to structure, stylise and add ballast to their personal information. The interview styles will be covered later.
It was emphasised from the start that they should be devoted to doing the work and that I won’t be doing the chasing. Overall the feedback I received suggests that the mentees found our one to one mentoring to be inspirational and confidence building.
The job is far from complete for all of them and in the end they are the ones who will need to take responsibility. But to nurture and guide them through sticky waters, and to share my own life experiences from a medical and human point of view was gratifying. It has been almost 40 years since I first entered my medical school career and the vetting process to select top medic students is certainly more robust.
The most valuable effect of mentoring from my experience, brief that may be, is one of self fulfilment and a feeling of satisfaction that I have helped to lay foundations and pathways for mentees to utilise in their future plans. If I have contributed somewhat then that would be deemed a success. The only negatives I have come across, are mentees who need a lot of pushing and coaxing but this should be a rare occurrence as the majority are extremely enthusiastic.
If someone asked me whether it was worth being a mentor, I would have no hesitation in advising and recommending this optional extra in one’s life.
I would suggest a lot of patience, a sense of self belief and above all, enjoyment in seeing the mentees hopefully succeed. After all, one open door might lead to another for anyone seizing the chance.
I intend to continue my input as a mentor for the forthcoming years and in seizing my own chance – I have also started writing my first piece of fiction. This will also involve me seeking guidance from an author and a personal mentor.
I have been working in the NHS since 1983 and became a GP in 1990. After 33 years last March it was time to call it a day at the age of 57. I had been a lead GP in cancer and palliative care for many years in my CCG at north east Lincolnshire, having been a board member for 15 years prior to the change from CTP to CCG.
In my alter life, I had been a doctor for the England cricket team between 1990-2005 and a BBC radio presenter for 14 years reviewing movies on my own weekly show. This sadly ended in September last year so I could now concentrate on writing my first piece of fiction.
I am also a father to two children – my son is in the Royal Navy and my daughter is a sports scientist and coach in Dorset.
Most recently I have become a mentor at two colleges and I am now hoping for a healthy yet ambitious phase in my retirement.