Viewpoint: This is how you mentor millennials in medicine

Millennials are driven by ethics, expectations and ethos that are "perceived as substantially different" than their older counterparts in the workplace, and therefore may require different mentoring strategies, three physicians from Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine wrote for JAMA.

"[M]entorship strategies for millennial faculty members, residents, and medical students are not well understood. Indeed, we have personally witnessed generational differences leading to frustration, miscommunication, and attrition in these mentor-mentee dyads," wrote Jennifer Waljee, MD, Vineet Chopra, MD, and Sanjay Saint, MD.

Coming of age in an era of information technology, social media and an overall more connected world, millennials are used to instant communication, quick decision-making, easy accessibility, flat social structures, cognitive diversity and results. This creates some friction, particularly in medicine, where tradition, apprenticeship and hierarchy reign supreme, the authors wrote.

The authors provide the following three strategies for older generations to enhance their mentorship relationships with millennials in the workplace.

1. Offer frequent, brief coaching sessions, also known as "micromentoring." Millennials will likely seek coaching for defined needs in abbreviated intervals, switching between mentors in short meetings on narrow topics. Older generations of employees should be communicative with millennials about scheduling and when it is appropriate to seek micromentoring.

2. Use "reverse mentoring" to allow generational groups the chance to learn from each other and be empowered. For example, older employees may tap millennials for their expertise on how to use social media tools to promote research papers, while millennials may need coaching on how to navigate the norms of academic medicine.

3. Use teams and collaborative mentorship. This will help fulfill millennials' need for cognitive diversity and multiple perspectives. Read the full article here.


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