Tips for Mentoring the Next Generation of Periop Leaders


One responsibility that can be neglected with everything else competing for your time, attention and energy is identifying and training the next generation of perioperative leaders. The OR workforce is aging and we collectively need to encourage younger, less experienced candidates waiting for their chance to lead. You need to do what you can to help them transition. You must share your knowledge and skills, if not to help those who come after you, then for the greater good of the patients and medical staff.

In "6 Things Every Mentor Should Do," a recent article in the Harvard Business Reviewtwo physicians share their insights from years of mentoring. It contains some helpful, relevant tips that apply to mentoing the perioperative leaders of the future. 

First, OR managers need to find candidates who are committed - who will put in the hard work, listen to directions, and who aren't afraid to put in the long hours to learn as much as possible.

OR managers also need to recruit other mentors. You can't do this alone, so don't. Speak with senior members of your staff and explain how important it is for all of you to train and educate the next generation. You need a team of mentors if you want to ensure the OR will be in good shape when you leave it.

OR managers must build mutual trust, encourage communication, and inspire leadership. You also need to understand younger generations. Your mentees likely don't think like you, talk like you, or learn like you. Acknowledge this and embrace it. Talk to your mentees and pick up on their learning styles.

As you age, your OR workforce does as well. Take action and mentor. Ask yourself, what are you doing to pave the path for those who will come after you? How can you help? What are you prepared to do?

An older, but still relevant article published by OR Manager, "Mentoring New Leaders for Surgery," (PDF) contains some perioperative-specific tips in discussing the mentoring program at Munson Medical Center.

Remember, you're an incredibly valuable resource for the next generation. Share what you've learned. Mentor the next generation of periop leaders.