Have you ever wondered why we put up mirrors in the gym? Is it just to marvel at our Herculean biceps, or to steal glances at those sculpted abs? No, not quite. It’s about form, about perfecting our technique and improving ourselves. For pharmacists, finding a mentor is like finding that gym mirror - and it comes with the added benefit of getting feedback without having to flex your mental muscles at your own reflection.
Let's get straight to the stats, shall we? After all, we’re pharmacists, not philosophers. A survey conducted by the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education discovered that 71% of respondents credited their success to having a mentor during their professional journey (1). It's no wonder then, that having a mentor has become the "Golden Elixir" of pharmacy. Think about it, that's better odds than that vitamin C tablet we all religiously pop in our mouths every morning.
Let's delve deeper, metaphorically, of course. I'm not asking you to break out your microscope or chemistry set.
The Wisdom Potion
Pharmacy is not just about memorizing the periodic table or knowing the difference between acetaminophen and a stone. It's also about patient care, dealing with insurance, and negotiating with suppliers - tasks more formidable than convincing a stubborn cough it's time to move out. And that's where a mentor comes in.
A mentor is like your personalized walkthrough guide for your RPG called "Pharmacy Career." They've already played this game, and they've got the cheat codes. A report from the Pharmacy Workforce Center highlighted that those who had mentors experienced fewer professional errors and were quicker to adopt new clinical guidelines (2). They're like human error-correcting codes, preventing you from making a "facepalm" moment, and we can all agree that fewer facepalms make for a more professional image.
The Motivational Stimulant
Ever found yourself wondering if the white lab coat was meant for you? Trust me, you're not alone. In such times, your mentor can be your personal cheerleader, sans the pom-poms. They can give you the necessary pep talk, reminding you of why you chose pharmacy in the first place - and no, it's not just because the pills match your outfit.
Mentors can boost morale and help maintain work-life balance, which can lead to increased job satisfaction. A study in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association suggested that pharmacists who had mentor guidance were 23% more likely to report high job satisfaction (3). It appears that a mentor does not just fill your mind with wisdom but also your heart with joy.
The Career Accelerator
Ever heard of the adage, "It's not what you know, but who you know"? It may sound like something your gossipy aunt would say, but it holds water in the pharmacy field as well. Mentors can provide networking opportunities, and as per a report by Forbes, 85% of all jobs are filled through networking (4). It's like being on a professional social media platform, only without the cat videos and food photos.
Having a mentor is like having a VIP pass to your career development. They can guide you through making strategic decisions, assist you in refining your goals, and help you navigate tricky ethical issues. Remember that being proactive about your career doesn't always mean working harder, but working smarter.
The Caffeine to your Long Nights
Late-night contemplations and doubts can creep up on us like those pesky side-effects warnings on a prescription. "Am I on the right track? Should I have specialized in nuclear pharmacy? Should I have paid more attention in my 'Ethics in Pharmacy' class?" When such questions come calling, your mentor can be your sounding board, offering advice, reassurance, or even a much-needed reality check.
To wrap it up, having a mentor in the pharmacy field is like finding the philosopher's stone. They can transmute your uncertainties into wisdom, your doubts into confidence, and your difficulties into stepping stones. So go ahead, start your mentor hunt today - the odds are in your favor!
Scheckelhoff, D.J., (2012) ‘Mentoring—what it is and how to do it’. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. 76(5), Article 88. Link
Pharmacy Workforce Center, (2019). National Pharmacist Workforce Study. Link
Speedie, M. K., Baldwin, J. N., Carter, R. A., Raehl, C. L., Yanchick, V. A., Maine, L. L. (2012). AACP Strategy for Addressing the Professional Development Needs of Department Chairs. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 76(6), Article 113. Link
Adams, S. (2011, Jan 24). Job Hunting? The Power of Who. Forbes. Link