Make sure you check in with your trainee using e-mails, texts or video calls. You don’t need a specific agenda — just check in and chat. Give your trainee plenty of time to process their new reality.
A different type of ‘to do’ list
It’s impossible to be productive when one is under intense pressure and fearing for one’s safety. To help your trainees, reduce causes of stress and reinforce ways to stay safe. Suggest ways in which they might meet their basic needs while practising social distancing, such as virtual coffee hours. Consider hosting a virtual event, perhaps with a non-scientific discussion topic.
Listen, don’t fix
As in all mentoring relationships, and especially during this time of heightened stress, it is not your role to fix a trainee’s problems. Instead, acknowledge the full range of their emotions. Let them know what they are feeling is natural and acceptable.
Start small and lower expectations for yourself and your trainees. COVID-19 is taking an emotional toll on everyone and might cause us to transfer our stress onto others — often in the form of poor communication and emotional reactions. Don’t demand heightened productivity from yourself or your trainees. Expecting manuscript masterpieces or flawless grant applications to be written during this time of unprecedented stress is a tall order. Instead, offer the chance to help on one of your manuscripts. Break things down into small pieces. This is a great time to collaborate.
Suggest ways to contribute to the cause
Your trainees might want to help in the fight against COVID-19, but might also be unsure about how they can contribute while they are in isolation.
Focus on what’s important
Most importantly, remember the human and empathetic part of the mentoring relationship. Focus on what is important to the trainee at this time.
In this podcast, Chris Nickson from Down Under talks about the launch of Clinician Incubator Programme a novel initiative for budding intensive care educators in Australia & New Zealand. ANZCEN Clinician […]