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The Benefits of Peer Mentorship in Direct Care

By Kezia Scales, PhD | August 20, 2018

Editor’s Note: This excerpt is from Growing a Strong Direct Care Workforce: A Recruitment and Retention Guide for Employers.

Peer mentorship is one of the most important ways to help new hires develop the confidence and skills to begin providing quality care. What’s more, it’s a good strategy for supporting workers at any point in their careers.

Why implement peer mentorship?

  • Peer mentorship programs accomplish a range of goals, including:
  • Supporting new hires as they transition into direct care roles.
  • Helping incumbent workers manage stress and resolve challenges.
  • Offering experienced workers a career advancement opportunity.
  • Encouraging an organizational culture of collaboration, learning, and problem solving

What do peer mentors do?

  • Welcome their new mentees during orientation.
  • Establish a trusting relationship with their mentees.
  • Provide targeted, consistent communication during their mentees’ first three months on the job.
  • Demonstrate quality, person-centered caregiving skills.
  • Work side-by-side with their mentees to strengthen their confidence and competence.
  • Help their mentees develop communication and problem-solving skills.
  • Offer ongoing support, encouragement, and advice.

What organizational supports are required?

Peer mentors must receive specialized training that focuses on developing interpersonal and leadership skills, rather than clinical or task-related content. Ideally, peer mentor programs should be developed and monitored by a cross-functional oversight committee, and a program coordinator should be selected to manage the program.

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How can long-term care providers improve their recruitment and retention? Read our new guide, where you can also find a list of citations.

Kezia Scales, PhD
About The Author

Kezia Scales, PhD

Director of Policy Research
Kezia Scales oversees PHI’s national research strategies to effectively study the direct care workforce and its relationship to long-term care, providing an evidence base to inform public policies on this critical workforce.
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