All new registrants graduate as clinically safe and competent practitioners. However, research commissioned by the GOsC (New Graduates’ Preparedness to Practise, Freeth et al, 2012) has shown that they often encounter difficulties in accessing high-quality professional support once they leave the relatively supportive environment of their osteopathic educational institution. This and the lack of a professional career structure in osteopathy has always made the transition to postgraduate practice challenging and these difficulties are particularly acute among (but are not limited to) new registrants who go into sole practice early in their professional lives, because of the potential for professional isolation. Freeth et al stated that participants in their study commonly reported gaps in business and entrepreneurial skills, patient management skills and interpersonal and communication skills.
Mentoring is a recognised method of enhancing knowledge and skills in professionals at all levels of achievement and experience and has been demonstrated to be a useful tool for addressing such issues. Mentoring can be a useful way for a person to access guidance from a more experienced or knowledgeable person, often in the same field and is guided by the agenda of the mentee.
The focus of this project was to research how best to incorporate mentoring into osteopathy so that new practitioners have the opportunity to access high-quality mentoring, ensuring that they can develop and sustain themselves in practice and reducing the risks associated with professional isolation. However, the tools that have been developed are not exclusive to new graduates. Osteopaths at any stage in their career can benefit from mentoring and are invited to use the resources provided.