Wolfgang Buhre | ESA Research Committee Chairperson
Claude Meistelman | ESA Mentorship Programme Leader
The ESA Mentorship Programme was launched at Euroanaesthesia. For most of the people, mentorship is considered to be support from the mentor to a mentee who would usually have with a high research potential. Many of us have benefited from such contacts which helped us to open doors when we were introduced to other well recognised research leaders or people who could help us to start our research, for example by telling us how to approach and get the best funding programmes. The goal of the ESA Mentorship Programme is to go further by creating a strong relationship between two individuals, the mentor and the mentee. The future mentors will be asked to work in a very close manner with the mentee to strengthen competencies.
Of course such an ESA innovative initiative will require strong investment from both sides. The mentor will not be as previously discussed a doorman. The position will require a dedicated implication of the mentor who will help the mentee by several actions which should include:
- A definition and a clarification of the research project
- The development of new research strategies to answer to the research hypothesis
- The shift of perspectives to new possibilities
- But first of all to create with the mentee a vision for changes
To be an outstanding researcher or the leader of a research group is not sufficient to become an efficient mentor. Coaching skills are mandatory, they should include:
- Affirmative listening in association with the ability to give but also to receive feedback from the mentee
- A clear analysis of the research question in order to ask effective questions to facilitate the learning process and possible changes
- Forwarding actions towards goals and projects
The choice of the mentor will of course be performed among the ESA community and we hope that many colleagues will offer their willingness to join this exciting programme and make it of great value for our young colleagues.
To become a mentee can be of great interest, however it implies to being fully engaged in the research project. Obviously, the mentee will receive great support from his mentor but he must be fully receptive to learning, and to developing a learning relationship with his mentor. He must also understand that the mentor is not committed to develop the research project but to help him not only in the elaboration of the research protocol but also in the development of his future career through a process of planned experiences and assignments
It goes without saying that the initial meeting between the mentor and the mentee will be critical for the success of the programme. The ESA will provide help by organizing a Mentorship Programme session during each Euroanaesthesia . The ESA research committee will be also involved in findingthe best mentors and also in selecting the best trainees. After the start of the programme, the mentor and the mentee will be free to organize their relationship based on individual possibilities. The call for mentees will take place at the beginning of 2016. After selection of 15 mentees, matching with the mentor will be known at the beginning of April and the first meeting between mentors and mentees will take place during Euroanaesthesia 2016 in London.
You may think that there is nothing new and that a Mentorship Programme is already used in many research fields not only in Medicine. I would answer that the ESA should be congratulated for taking such an initiative and support this programme. This project should help promising young European researchers make their dreams come true. By benefiting from the experience of motivated researchers who will bring their expertise and their willingness, we hope that this programme will contribute to improve the quality and the volume of research in anaesthesiology and intensive care medicine all over Europe.
To summarize the ESA Mentorship Programme should not be considered as assistance for young researchers but as a tool to develop its own research programme.