Practice Notes

Building an effective mentoring program

Tyler Ford

Pairing newly hired physicians with mentors, or more experienced colleagues, can ensure smooth integration and instill cultural expectations early on.

But how do medical group leaders structure these mentorship programs to adequately support new physicians while protecting the time of more tenured physicians?

Closely monitoring program satisfaction

Wellspan Medical Group in Pennsylvania launched a formal mentorship program that matches newly hired physicians with experienced providers within the same specialty. 

Mentorship pairs meet regularly throughout the onboarding physician’s first year to discuss his or her transition into the medical group. Mentees are able to develop a stronger connection to practice culture and get advice for coping with early challenges. Mentors, too, report feeling more invested in the success of new physicians and attached to organizational culture and goals.

Wellspan carefully monitors the satisfaction of participants to ensure that mentorship time is well spent. Mentors and mentees complete program evaluations at regular intervals to ensure both new and tenured physicians find the effort worthwhile. 

Learn more about Wellspan’s mentorship structure in our study, The High-Performance Medical Group. You can also review templates and practice guides from Wellspan in the study's toolkit.

Quarterly "lessons learned" panels

Mercy Health Partners in southwest Ohio also uses peer learning to enhance physician onboarding. The five-hospital system hosts a series of "lessons learned panels," where recently onboarded physicians share stories and advice with newly hired providers. 

After opening remarks from the CEO, participants delve into a roundtable discussion with physicians recruited in the last two years. The panels are hosted by the CMO, occur each quarter, and last about one hour. 

These "what I wish I had known" panels strive for an informal atmosphere where new physicians feel safe to ask questions in a collegial, supportive environment. They also provide an important touch point between new physicians and executive leadership. 

Learn More

For more information about Mercy Health’s peer discussion panels and to see their sample structure in the HR Investment Center’s study, Engaging the Physician Workforce.

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