This new mentoring scheme has been launched by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in collaboration with the Turning the Tide Oversight Group to support Black, Asian, and minority ethnic midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) in their career development.
The scheme grew out of findings in the Turning the Tide report published in 2020. This highlighted historic and endemic inequalities faced by Black and Asian healthcare professionals in the NHS, and those of mixed ethnicity. Among the report's recommendations was a call for support through a mentoring programme, something to which the RCM responded as part of its Race Matters and Caring for You initiatives.
Aim of the Program
Suzanne Tyler, the RCM's Executive Director for Services to Members said: “Every day staff of colour face racism, discrimination and prejudice that can have a serious impact emotionally and professionally. There is a real gap in the support available to these staff, which is why I am delighted that our new mentoring programme will help to fill that gap. Mentoring helps career development, enhances skills and experience, and widens the networks that staff can go to for more advice and support.
"There is a dearth of senior leaders of colour in maternity and we hope this mentoring programme will be a catalyst for positive change for these staff and the wider NHS."
Initially the mentoring scheme is open to Black, Asian, and minority ethnic midwives and MSWs, but there are plans to widen this to all midwives and MSWs in the future. The platform will also link to other RCM resources that support career development such as its online learning platform i-learn.
The programme has also encouraged midwives in early careers to become mentors, thereby facilitating Reverse Mentoring and acknowledging that experienced staff can learn from less experienced staff.
The programme works by bringing together experienced NHS professionals from inside and outside maternity services, and from different leadership and management positions, as mentors. The platform helps them to pair-up Black, Asian and ethnic minority midwives and MSW's
Mentees come to the platform, look at the mentor profiles, and approach the one they feel can help and support them. Each pair then decide how they want to meet, whether virtually or in person, how often, and how long their mentoring relationship will last. It's expected they will meet for one to two hours over six to 10 sessions, spread over six to 12 months. Some basic guidance and rules around how it will work for each mentor and mentee are in place, along with resources to set objectives, reflect, and log the learning and development.
RCM chose to work with PLD after completing a competitive tendering process. RCM chose PLD due to our extensive experience of delivering mentoring platforms within the professional body sector as well as our experience of delivering mentoring platforms to support equality, diversity and inclusion within professional bodies and also the NHS.
As users of the mentoring platform are busy healthcare professionals the mentoring platform had to be accessible and easy to use as well as configurable for the RCM's needs.
The resources available within the platform offer clear guidance to mentees and mentors throughout the mentoring process to help mentees and mentors learn about techniques to help them to develop effective and successful mentoring relationships.
To date, 76% of mentees who have completed their profiles have found a suitable matching mentor.
From the data gathered so far, we can see that mentees are developing relationships and using the platform as a springboard to help accelerate their career development and progression within the profession.
Mentors who have registered onto the platform have a wealth of experience/expertise and skills to support the mentee's requirements.
The areas of support mostly sought by mentees, and matched by mentors include leadership, maternity policy and strategy, midwifery management, moving into a more strategic role, expanding clinical skills and developing self-confidence.
Feedback gathered at the completion of the mentoring process evaluates the effectiveness of the relationship.
"We could not have asked for a better service from PLD. They were very responsive to our specific platform needs and available to talk to for help and support when needed. Regular check ins from them were also very useful and they have helped to make sure our mentoring platform is successful. After the implementation, regular contact has been maintained, which has led to further refinements and tweaks to improve user experience even further."
"I have found this mentorship programme extremely beneficial and helpful to professional and personal development."
Overall rating - "Excellent"