Frequently asked questions

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a special kind of relationship where both the mentor and mentee learn from each other through an objective, credible, honest, trustworthy and confidential association. An effective mentoring relationship is a learning opportunity for both parties where you are accountable to each other with a minimal amount of reporting to the outside world about the discussions that take place within your mutually created and agreed space.

RPS mentoring is about developmental one-to-one mentoring based on Eric Parslow’s definition from The Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring, where “Mentoring is to support and encourage people to manage their own learning in order that they may maximise their potential, develop their skills, improve their performance and become the person they want to be.”

It’s important that you are able to access the kind of mentoring you need, at the appropriate time, and when you need it. We are here to help you with this process.

How can being a mentor can help me?

There are many ways that you can benefit from being a mentor. For some people, improved job satisfaction is a driver and they find that their own performance improves. Mentoring is an opportunity for self development and mentors often enjoy the chance to hear an alternative view on a given situation. As a mentor, you can increase your skills in developing others and mentoring may give you a different perspective on work. Mentoring can also help you develop yourself as your confidence increases around addressing issues and in dealing with people from different backgrounds. Mentors often express satisfaction in helping others to achieve their goals as well as enjoying the opportunity to give back to the service.

How will being mentored help me?

  • empowerment to take responsibility for your professional practice
  • improved understanding of work issues and exposure to different approaches to dealing with them
  • knowledge from someone in a similar role about the external environment and the characteristics and culture of the sector
  • opportunities for self-learning and CPD
  • a chance to focus on priorities
  • support you in your career path and develop your confidence in specific areas 

Why might I choose to be mentored?

We believe that mentoring is an excellent tool for providing guidance and support for you at any time in your career. For example, you might be a pre-registration trainee, or a newly qualified pharmacist looking for career direction, or an experienced pharmacists thinking of changing your sector, or returning to practice following a career break or wanting a new challenge. You may choose to use our mentoring as support for dealing with difficult work situations or to help you reflect on the avenues open to you in a confidential environment, to maintain your optimal work-life balance.

You may wish to be mentored at any stage in your career and mentoring can be used to suit your individual needs and your situation.

What mentoring service does RPS provide to members?

RPS provides an online mentor-mentee matching database. Our mentor database helps you to link up with other members of your profession for mentoring support. You can both register as a mentor or access mentoring support (as a mentee) directly from other RPS members via the database.

Personal information on the database is confidential. Once a match is made potential mentors and mentees can take the opportunity to share relevant details prior to committing to a mentoring relationship.

What are the aims of RPS mentoring?

The aim of the mentoring service will be determined by what the mentor and mentee wish to achieve from the process. Mentoring styles can range from a facilitative 'coaching' style to a more directive approach. For example you may choose:

  • peer mentoring: where a colleague in a similar field working at a similar level of practice is  available to discuss issues and exchange ideas with you;
  • career mentoring: where you are looking to advance your career and/or change direction and wish to explore ways forward;
  • facilitative mentoring: where you wish to benefit from your environment to explore options for progressing with current work, problems solving or managing change;
  • one-off mentoring: where you may have a specific issue to discuss.

Our aim is to maximise your potential so you can achieve what you want to accomplish, whilst offering a high quality, safe and effective service to patients and the public. We also offer support to mentors and mentees through events and development days, the local practice forums, the RPS support team, online networks and our website.

How do I find a mentor?

You can find a mentor by registering on the RPS mentor database. If you fail to come up with a match and have tried widening your search, please call our Professional Support Service to help you with your search. You can also make a posting on relevant RPS networks (but this is not confidential).

If I choose a mentor via the RPS database, can they decline to mentor me ?

If a mentor chosen through our database declines to mentor you, it is more than likely that they are already mentoring their maximum number of mentees and therefore their workload and circumstances are preventing them from accepting your request. In this situation, the system will automatically prompt you to choose another mentor, provided there are matches for your criteria. You can always contact RPS Professional Support Service if you have any concerns about your mentor search.

May I use my smart phone to register on the mentoring database and find a mentor-mentee match?

The optimum user experience for the mentoring database will be found on a PC. However, depending on your mobile device you may be able to access the database. If you are unable to do so, we recommend that you use a PC but we’ll be keen to hear your feedback. if you notice a problem with this, please contact RPS Professional Support Service for assistance.

Searching for a mentor, I have received more than one mentor match. How do I proceed now?

We advise you to email each of your matched mentors explaining the type of support you are looking for and ask them to respond with what they are able to offer in the way of mentorship. This will enable you to choose your best match. Once you have found your mentor, please email the others who were matched to say that you will not be proceeding with the mentoring relationship as you have found a suitable mentor.

I received an email about a mentee match which I accepted but never received any further communication. What does this mean?

This could mean that the mentee had more than one match and chose an alternate mentor. Although we have advised mentees to email pending mentors once they have chosen a suitable mentor from the matches, they may not always be able to do this. We hope to review our information on this when we update our systems. 

What help is available to me locally?

Please check our events calendar for mentoring development days. Also, your local practice forum (LPF) is likely to be offering mentoring workshops. You can find your nearest LPF

Attending LPF meetings gives you unparalleled access to colleagues from other sectors where you can meet pharmacist colleagues with a variety of skills and experience.

Equally, if you feel you would like to share the benefit of your experience through mentoring someone, you can register on the RPS mentoring database.

What if I want to be a mentor?

There are many opportunities for you as a mentor through RPS as a pre-registration trainee, an experienced  pharmacist both in post or retired. You may wish to make yourself available to support your colleagues’ career development by registering on our mentoring database (which takes about 5 minutes).  If you have any questions about mentoring, you can contact our Professional Support Service .

What skills and training do I need to register as a mentor on the RPS mentoring database?

We recognise that many of you are already informally providing coaching and mentoring support on a daily basis at work and therefore will already hold the necessary skills to be on the RPS volunteer mentor database. Additionally, you may perhaps have been mentored yourself and have benefited from this experience. We do not require you to hold formal mentoring training to join our database  The RPS offers mentor development events across the country. Please check our events calendar or your LPF calendar for such events.

To register as a mentor you need to be:

  • willing to help other RPS members to develop and achieve success;
  • prepared to invest time and effort for about four, 1-2hour mentoring sessions per year;
  • a good listener and be able to encourage others;
  • interested in challenging and helping someone to reach out further;
  • willing to share your personal knowledge and experiences;
  • able to keep matters confidential.

What support is available to me as an RPS Mentor?

As part of your registration on the database you will be prompted to join the online mentor support network where you can share your experiences and discuss concerns without breaching confidentiality.
We offer further access to mentor rescources and professional development tools.

You can access the RPS website which offers a wealth of information or talk to a member of RPS Professional Support Service .

Am I allowed to discuss clinical and personal issues through the RPS mentoring process?

We see clinical issues being dealt with by your line manager including all patient related clinical matters. However, if you require some support with a difficult situation, your RPS mentor will do their utmost to help you to consider possible options without breaching confidentiality. All patient identifiable data should not be included in any discussions between you and your mentor.

Mentees will be advised to contact Pharmacist Support for help and advice for any issues outside of the remit of the RPS mentoring support service. These include drink/drug problems, serious health problems, personal/psychiatric problems or crisis, serious managerial misconduct such as fraud and sexual indiscretion/exploitation.

Where does the mentee's employer and their support fit into this and do mentees need to be making their line managers aware of using this service?

As a mentee you have no obligation to inform your employer about the support you receive through the RPS mentoring service which is strictly confidential. You may choose to undertake additional support offered to you through your employer by approaching your (current/intended) organisation/manager about any mentoring schemes they offer. These may help you to develop in a new or current role or to follow a fast-track scheme (e.g. for leadership in pharmacy/within the wider organisation). These schemes usually have a specific purpose, timescale and agreed goals.

How much of my personal information on the RPS database is seen by the mentor/ mentee when the database comes up with the matches?

When a mentoring match is made, the mentee will only be able to see the potential mentor(s)’ names and email addresses. All other information about the potential mentors and the mentee will remain confidential. However, you may choose to share other information when the mentoring relationship commences but this is entirely up to you.

What are the CPD benefits from undertaking mentoring?

Mentoring can help your career and your practice in more ways than one. It is not only a way to increase your performance as a mentee but also provides opportunities to mentor others, which is an invaluable management skill.

Mentoring promotes learning, commitment and improves motivation, all of which support the completion of CPD entries for you as a mentee and as a mentor. CPD entries may be structured around learning that results from planned or unplanned meetings and discussions, providing and receiving support or feedback, and evaluating your progress both as a mentee as well as a mentor without breaching confidentiality. Over time, you may have opportunities to embed the scope of identifying or refining your own learning focused through CPD.

I have conditions attached to my GPhC registration and need a mentor to facilitate with re-joining the register. Can RPS help me?

You can access RPS mentors using our mentor database and choose a mentor who matches your requirements. You have the opportunity to email your mentor prior to commencing the mentoring relationship to make them aware of their remit and scope in facilitating your re-entry to the Pharmacist Register. With mutual agreement the mentor can then liaise with the GPhC to agree the planned strategy in fulfilling their role in your re-registration process. You may find it helpful to refer to our case study for an example.