Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Therapist Professional Advisory Committee

Mentoring

The Mentoring program is designed to promote mentoring skills and to assist with the integration of officers and civilian therapists into the US Public Health Service. Junior levels of GS (5-7) and CO (O3 and below) are eligible to participate as mentees. Eligible mentors are those persons at or above the GS-8 level for civil service or a rank of O4 for commissioned officers.

Public Health Service Therapist Category Mentoring Program Contact:

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A. BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION

The concept of mentoring has a long history dating as far back as Mentor. As recorded in the Odyssey, Mentor was the loyal adviser whom Odysseus entrusted with the care and education of his son Telemachus during the Trojan Campaign. Mentor provided one-on-one guidance over time. Today there is definite recognition of the value of guidance and continuous learning for professional officers through mentoring.

The Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps (CC) Mentoring Program goals are to fully integrate civilians and officers into the Commissioned Corps, and to promote mentoring skills among all employees.

The PHS Commissioned Corps Therapist Category is relatively small with approximately 100 officers. This program will emphasize what individuals can do for themselves with supportive role-modeling and coaching from higher-level employees. The use of key elements are used to build solid mentoring relationships in combination with a strategically planned design for empowering employees.

The PHS Therapist Mentoring Program is strongly encouraged program modeled after other government and Commissioned Corps programs.

B. OBJECTIVES

  • Increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of therapist category officers and civilians. This includes those serving as mentors as well as mentees. An expected outcome is improved work quality, long-term productivity, and officer morale.
  • Prepare persons to be more effective members of the Commissioned Corps.
  • Promote mentoring skills among therapists.

C. RATIONALE AND BENEFITS

The Mentor Program is provided as a resource for all officers O1 to O6 and offers senior officers (O4 and above) an opportunity to share their experience and perspective with officer's who could greatly benefit from their experiences. Officers can serve concurrently as mentees and as mentors.

The program also serves as a resource for junior civilian therapists (GS 5-7) to participate as mentees and senior civilian therapists (>GS 8) to serve as mentors.

The program also serves as a resource for junior civilian therapists (GS 5-7) to participate as mentees and senior civilian therapists (>GS 8) to serve as mentors.

Benefits to the Organization

The mentoring program is an opportunity to provide a rewarding experience for all involved. Mentoring programs have been shown to benefit organizations as well as program participants.

Benefits to the organization have included:

  • Greater motivation and productivity of involved employees as they work toward both personal and agency goals.
  • Development of stronger supervisory and coaching skills among managers.
  • Communication and cross-training among people at different levels, in different organizational units and across job and cultural barriers.
  • Development of a diverse pool of qualified candidates for jobs where internal candidates are few or where groups are underrepresented.
  • Transfer of institutional knowledge and skills from mentors to mentees so junior employees understand the culture and can work successfully in it.

Benefits to Mentors

Benefits accrue not only to those mentored but to those who provide the time and effort to be effective mentors. These include:

  • Satisfaction from helping a fellow officer define goals, identify options, plan strategies, solve problems, and attain goals.
  • Improved communication, motivation, coaching, counseling skills, and other management skills.
  • Broadened perspectives by interacting closely with a more junior employee not directly in the chain of command.
  • Opportunities to further "give back" to their profession by helping to develop positive and productive qualities in a fellow employee.
  • Provide impetus for mentors to reflect on their own goals and performance, review their progress, and refocus their objectives

Benefits to Mentee

Mentees gain opportunities to:

  • Establish positive rapport and growth oriented experience with a more senior person who provides them with challenging expectations.
  • Obtain guidance in defining, clarifying and achieving goals.
  • Gain a broadened political and cultural perspective of the PHS.
  • Engage in constructive interactions to enhance participation in the organization.
  • Acquire an objective and credible source of information,
  • Participate in continuing learning opportunities, and consequently
  • Improve overall job performance.

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D. MENTOR/MENTEE RESPONSIBILITIES

Mentors: Any active duty PHS CC Officer with a senior grade (O4 and above), five years of PHS active duty experience, plans to remain on active duty for the duration of the agreement, and is willing to serve as mentor for the duration of the agreement (one year), and has supervisory approval. The mentor will agree to serve as an advisor and resource person for the mentee, listen and preserve confidentiality. They are asked to devote at least two hours per month contact with the mentee and preserve confidentiality.

Mentors will be at least one rank higher than the Mentee and not in the direct chain of command of the Mentee. However, consideration is given to officers who have served in the Agency where the mentee is assigned. The Mentee and Mentor will not be related by marriage or family.

Responsibilities of Mentors

  • Serve as a role model - share personal experiences, present a good example
  • Be a resource person - provide information on the organization, discipline, personnel system, training opportunities, networking contacts, etc.
  • Listen - be open and understanding
  • Counsel - help identify options for promoting goals and solving specific problems, offer specific and practical suggestions
  • Offer insight - orient the mentee to the spoken and unspoken rules of the organization
  • Guide - offer guidance for the mentee to make decisions.
  • Validate - be an advocate and acknowledge achievements, questions and concerns.
  • Motivate - help set realistic goals and provide encouragement to achieve them
  • Give feedback - share positive reactions and offer constructive criticism
  • Provide perspective - assist the mentee in seeing the big picture, think globally and put things in proper perspective

Mentee Responsibilities

Mentees: All active duty PHS CC Officers assigned to the Therapist Category who are willing to agree to program requirements, i.e., a time requirement of two hours per month, plan to remain on active duty the duration of the agreement, has a junior grade (O1 to O3), and has supervisory approval. They are asked to devote at least one hour per week for contact with the mentor and preserve confidentiality. Mentees have the responsibility of setting up meetings with the mentor and rescheduling as often as possible.

  • Initiate - schedule discussions, actively seek out the mentor's advice
  • Be honest - be open and frank, share your self-assessment of career development needs and personal career goals
  • Listen - consider all suggestions without being defensive
  • Participate - take full advantage of the services and assistance offered, make decisions based on all information gathered, follow through on suggestions that make sense

Organization Responsibilities

The Public Health Service Agencies are requested to provide support to this mentoring program through administration, time allocation and resources. The overall view of this program is to promote the mission of the Public Health Service and its programs. Specific arrangements are to be made with the organizations to which officers are assigned. Two way communication between participants and management are imperative to facilitate the mission of the agencies.

Administrative support for this program is requested in time and resources for volunteers to conduct orientation, training, evaluation and participation in this program. Arrangements are to be made by Mentor and Mentee participants with their respective service units on specific needs.

Mentor Coordinator Responsibilities

The Mentor Coordinator will report mentoring activity to the Chairperson of the Professional Development Committee of the TPAC. The coordinator will also be responsible for the following:

a. Develop and modify program details, e.g., selection eligibility, criteria for mentors and mentees, application forms, evaluation criteria, responsibilities, and other services as required.

b. Secure final approval of the TPAC and Chair and keep them informed of activities.

c. Provide resources for orientation and informational materials to potential and selected participants. Design a web site complete with resources for mentors, mentees, and civilian participants in the program.

d. Prepare memorandum and/or bulletin announcements about the program and application process. Advertise a call for mentors/mentees in the TPAC minutes and/or U.S. PHS Therapist News Letter or make an announcement at the Commissioned Officers Association Meeting annually.

e. Collect applications and match mentors and mentees according to selection criteria.

f. Provide resources for orientation, training and education for mentors, mentees, and civilians.

g. Monitor and support mentor-mentee relationships and facilitate problem resolution.

h. Arrange for evaluation call meetings between parties involved. Determine and address any systemic problems that are identified.

i. Evaluate program's ability to create positive change.

j. Arrange recognition for participants at completion of one year program in the form of a letter of appreciation from the TPAC Chair.

k. Report at program conclusion with recommendations for future program improvement. This report may include a synopsis of participant experiences and other observation

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E. PROGRAM DESCRIPTION (Application)

Application for Mentors and Mentees

Application to the mentoring program can be made at any time by contacting the Mentoring Coordinator from the PHS Therapists Mentoring web site. The mentorship program is open to all officers at any stage of their career including Junior Officers, Mid-Level Officers and Senior Officers.  Mentoring relationships may be terminated at any time upon request by either the mentor or mentee. Notification should be made in writing to the Mentoring Coordinator by both parties if discontinuation is desired.

The Mentoring coordinator will obtain a list of new officers from the Division of Commissioned Corps Personnel and Readiness quarterly.  In addition, an initial call for mentor volunteers will be printed in the Therapist Category Minutes.  Mentor/Mentee volunteers are requested to submit a respective Mentor/Mentee Application Form and Mentoring agreement.

Mentees and mentors will sign an agreement specifying the amount of time they will meet, the responsibilities of the parties, and the personal goals the mentee preferably has indicated in the following areas:

  • Enhancing current interactional job skills
  • Career planning and advancement
  • Education and training
  • Other

Once the letter of intent, CV, application and agreement have been submitted to the coordinator, the Subcommittee will review the documents and pair the officer as appropriate.  A notification letter will be sent to the mentor/mentee identifying matched pairs. The proposed criteria for matching pairs are:

  • Volunteers for the program
  • Skills, knowledge, interests of mentors/mentees
  • the stated needs of the mentee
  • stated strengths of the mentor
  • higher rank of mentor
  • Therapists experience and abilities

It is advised that the mentor not be in the supervisory role of the mentee to avoid situations where the mentee would not be able to fully express him/herself outside of the sponsoring agency.

Program size

Program size will accommodate the request of therapists, participation permitting. Other programs have cited the number of volunteer mentees to be high, with recruitment of mentors lower. To have a successful program, we must have available mentors.

Time Requirements for Mentors, Mentees, Supervisors

All participants and supervisors are required to read the description of the program before agreeing to participate in this program to brief them on the objectives and roles of mentors and mentees (web site training). This information requires no more than two full hours to review.

  • Two hours per month for mentor-mentee consultation is required for a successful program . At the discretion of the mentor, mentee and supervisors, time may be administrative or non-government time. Mentor and mentee may also schedule additional sessions on non-government time with mutual agreement.
  • Independent one hour sessions for mentor/mentee focus group meetings during the year to determine program progress. Separate meetings for Mentors and Mentees to discuss issues is recommended with the program coordinator
  • Other sessions/conference calls with the Mentoring Coordinator may be scheduled as requested.
  • Final reviews for participants with the Mentoring Coordinator to assess the professional growth and program effectiveness over the year.
  • Recognition of participants, mentors, mentees, supervisors and coordinators at the annual COA meeting.

Program Evaluation

The program will be monitored by telephone/email contact following the notice of matched pairs (initially) and at three months.  At six months and one year a formal evaluation will be completed and submitted to the Subcommittee for review to identify successes and opportunities for improvement in the program.  The evaluations will be accessed via the web site by the pairs and evaluated by the Mentoring Subcommittee.

Final evaluations will be accessed via the web site by the pairs and evaluated by the Mentoring Coordinator.

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F. PROCEDURES

1. A roster of new commissioned officers is requested quarterly by the Coordinator from the Division of Commissioned Corps Personnel and Readiness.

2. Advertisements placed annually.

3. Email Query with Mentee/Mentor Application/Agreement sent to respective mentee/mentor. Mentoring web site review encouraged at this time.

4. Mentor information placed in data base file upon receipt of mentor letter of intent, CV and application.

5. Mentee information placed in  data base file upon receipt of application.

6. Matching Mentors and mentees: Matches are made by reviewing letter of intent, CV, application and matching the interests and needs of mentors/mentees.  Matches will be established by the Mentorship Subcommittee.

7. Coordinator makes an evaluation call at three months, six months, and one year.

8. The Subcommittee will reach out to the mentor/mentee at 3 months for an evaluation.  A formal evaluation will be sent out at six months, and one year.

9. Evaluations received: All information from the evaluation is maintained confidentially by the Mentoring Coordinator.  Information will be reviewed to identify successes of program and opportunities for improvement.

10. Terminating Matches: Matches may be terminated by either a mentor or mentee at any time in writing to the Mentor Subcommittee Chair.

G. TEN TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL MENTORING RELATIONSHIP

  • Be proactive - don't wait for your mentor or mentee to contact you
  • Negotiate a commitment - agree to have regular contact at predefined intervals
  • Establish rapport - learn as much as you can about one another
  • Be confident - each of you has something important to offer the other
  • Be enthusiastic - demonstrate your interest in the mentoring relationship
  • Communicate - share your knowledge and experience openly
  • Be a good listener - hear what your mentor or mentee is saying to you
  • Be responsive - act upon what you've learned
  • Be accessible - have an open-door or open-phone policy
  • Take responsibility - it takes two to have a successful mentoring relationship

(Adapted from HSO Mentoring Manual)

H. SUGGESTED MENTEE TOPICS (COMMISSIONED CORPS)

  • Professional Licensure/Registration
  • Enhancement of Clinical Skills
  • Career Assessment
  • Billet Description
  • Job Search/Assistance
  • Electronic Official Personnel File
  • Promotion Process
  • Benchmarks and Career Progression
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume
  • Commissioned Officers' Effectiveness Report
  • Awards
  • Readiness
  • Deployment
  • Career Progression
  • Uniforms
  • Customs Courtesies
  • Commissioned Corps History
  • Tricare
  • Retirement Planning & Preparation
  • Leave

SUGGESTED MENTEE TOPICS (CIVIL SERVICE)

  • Resume & SF - 171/Of - 612

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MENTORING APPLICATIONS

Please download and print the appropriate mentoring applications. Complete, scan, and submit electronically to the mentoring coordinator at email address below.

Mentor application Mentor Agreement Mentee angrement

Please contact the mentoring coordinator if you have technical difficulties or need special accommodations.

LCDR Kathryn Jacques, phone: 907-729-7441 email: kjacques@southcentralfoundation.com

Page Last Modified on 11/8/2018

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