Mentoring is one form of continuing professional development that has the potential to overcome limitations. Mentoring programmes and activities have the advantage of being immediately responsive to individual learning needs, and their availability to ‘members only’ can be designated as one of the advantages of professional association membership. It could serve as an encouragement to attracting new members and for retaining existing members.
Research has shown that there are at least seven characteristics of mentoring programmes that are critical to the ongoing success of such programmes. These are summarized in the following points:
• Clearly defined purpose and goals,
• Coordinator and/or committee support,
• Mentors with interpersonal skills and an interest in the development of others,
• Training in the skills of mentoring,
• Mentors who are accessible,
• Regular meeting may be a requirement,
• It is what you do rather than personalities involved that is important.