A mentor can be an invaluable resource for a physiotherapist! Especially if both the mentor and the mentee are willing to put in the time necessary to make the relationship flourish. It takes effort to build and maintain a good relationship with your mentor, but it can be hard to know where to start. In this article, we’ll not only explore the reasons it’s important to build a strong relationship with your mentor, but specific ways to make the most of your mentor-mentee relationship.

Reasons it’s Important to Maintain a Good Relationship With your Mentor

Mentors can help to provide motivation for you to grow in your career as a physiotherapist. By learning from your mentor’s past clinical experience, you’ll create a broader frame of reference for how to  approach any challenges you may face in your own clinical practice. 

You can also learn from your mentor’s past mistakes, without having to make those mistakes yourself. If you are able to maintain a good relationship with your mentor, they can serve as inspiration that will last for your entire career as a physiotherapist. Check out our recent blog post on The Importance of Mentors for more.

Ways to Make the Most of Your Mentor-Mentee Relationship

Meet regularly

It’s very important to meet with your mentor on a regular basis in order to build a rapport and to allow for enough opportunities to connect and bounce ideas off of them. We suggest creating a plan that works for both of you, whether that’s meeting for coffee on a set day every month, or scheduling recurring calls. As you know, physiotherapists’ schedules can become very busy and if something’s not in the calendar, it can be easy to push down on the ever-growing priority list!

Be prepared

Scheduling regular meetings with your mentor is great, but in order to make the most of both of your time, you’ll want to  show up well-prepared. In the weeks leading up to your meeting, make a point of writing down any questions you encounter in your day-to-day practice as a physiotherapist. 

Jot down notes on any challenging patient cases so that you can go through these with your mentor in your next meeting. Making this a habit will allow you to really maximize your time with your mentor!

Ask for feedback

Feedback is one of the most valuable things that your mentor has to offer you - take advantage of this in order to get the most out of your mentor mentee relationship. Do not be afraid of receiving criticism. This is, of course, easier said than done, but if you are open to receiving criticism and feedback from your mentor, you’ll be given the opportunity to correct any mistakes you may be making in your career as a physiotherapist. You’ll also have the chance to improve upon certain techniques if your mentor offers you tips on how you can perform them in a different or more effective way.

Ask about additional training

As a physiotherapist, you’ll be aware of the many continuing education and training programs that are available to you. The options are endless and can be overwhelming. Ask your mentor which courses they found had the most benefit for them and why. 

As a more experienced physiotherapist, they could have a greater understanding of what will benefit you and may even be able to share firsthand experience with a particular training program. This should help to give you a better idea of which courses are worth taking and which are not for you.

Learn from their mistakes

As we’ve said, one of the major benefits of having a mentor is that you get to learn from their mistakes, without having to do the leg work! Ask your mentor all about their past experiences and, especially, about the mistakes they made in their earlier days in practice. Chances are, you will glean some really valuable information by asking the right questions of an experienced physiotherapist!

Some questions to ask:

  • What do you wish you’d know or done differently when you were starting out as a physiotherapist?
  • What were the biggest mistakes you made when you first started your practice?
  • What cases did you come across in your practice that you found to be the most challenging? How did you treat them?

Learn from their successes

Think about what it is that you admire most about your mentor. Are they an expert in a specific type of therapy? Have they built a very successful physiotherapy practice? Ask your mentor to share their success stories with you and you’ll access helpful advice to get you to where you want to be in your career as a physiotherapist.

Some questions to ask:

  • What were the key factors in becoming an expert in a particular therapy?
  • How were you able to build such a large patient base?
  • What are you most proud of in your career as a physiotherapist?
  • Tell me about a challenging patient case that you experienced success in?

If you have found yourself a good mentor that is a great fit for you, congratulations, you’ve made an invaluable ally on your physiotherapy career path! 

Be sure to foster this mentor-mentee relationship so that it can have the most benefit for you as possible. Meet with your mentor regularly and be sure to come to these meetings well-prepared. Be open to feedback from your mentor and ask them lots of questions about the successes and failures they’ve experienced in their career as a physiotherapist. Finally, pick your mentor’s brain about which additional courses would be the best fit for your career goals. If you are able to develop a good bond with your mentor, they’ll be able to advise you in a way that leads you to become an even more successful physiotherapist!