PODCAST AUDIO Caring Collaboratively Episode 2 The Value of Embedded Mentorships in Speech-Language Pathology

Podcast Transcript

Summer McMurry: I'm Summer McMurry and I'm here today with the Speech-Language Pathology Mentor group at Carolina pediatric therapy and this month we're talking about mentoring, so we thought it'd be really fitting to.  Talk to our actual group of people that do the mentoring on our team, so I thought i'd start with letting everybody introduce yourself. 

 Caroline Moore: Okay I'm Caroline Moore. I'm the Director of the Speech Pathology team. 

 Catherine Tintle: I'm Catherine Tintle, Speech Pathologist and I work in Asheville and Brevard. 

 Kelly Shay: I'm Kelly Shay. I'm also a Speech Pathologist and I work, mostly in our Waynesville office. 

 Ashley Kippins: I'm Ashley Kippens, I am a speech pathologist in our Charlotte clinic. 

 Jenn Milan: I'm Jenn Milan, I'm a Speech Pathologist in Hendersonville and in the Candler community. 

 Myrna: I'm Myrna Reesor, and I work in the Hendersonville clinic. 

 Roxanne Pope: I'm Roxanne Pope. 

 Roxanne Pope: And I also work in Hendersonville clinic. 

 Tess Gratton: I'm Tess Gratton, and I'm also in our Hendersonville clinic. 

 Summer McMurry: Awesome. So thank you guys so much for joining. This month is Mentor Appreciation month, so thank you guys so much for being part of this and letting me in on your meeting today. so. So we want to delve a little bit into our Mentoring Program and the first thing I wanted to ask you guys, is Why did you feel that it was important to be a mentor?  Go ahead Jenn. 

 Jenn Milan: I wanted to be able to give back. I started at Carolina viewed as a CF and it took me many years to kind of get my feet and and know what I was doing and I really wanted an opportunity to give back and to help someone else in that same position. 

 Kelly Shay: Yeah Jenn, had a similar experience I actually did my CF in Louisiana and I had an incredible CF mentor and so, then when I came here.  You know, when I have one of my first check ins with Caroline and she said, you know what's one of your goals in the next year or two years and I was like I want to be a mentor I want to oversee a CF I want to oversee a student.  Because I want to give somebody that same experience that I had. 

 Catherine Tintle: I wanted to be a mentor in the private practice setting because most of my experience was in the schools and what's great about the schools is that you have lots of therapists in your county or wherever you're working in the private practice, it can be scary because a lot of times you're out on your own in the Community and there is still a group of therapists that you that you work with, but it's not as close and so I wanted to be that person I go to person for someone. In the private practice that they can always count on asking any question and in their corner for them so that's why I wanted to be a mentor and why I love it. 

 Ashley Kippins: I want it to be a mentor in addition to what everyone else has said.  I really found it as a good way to kind of keep my own skills sharp because you know we're getting lots of questions about.  Oh, like I haven't seen that before Why are you doing it that way, and it kind of forces you to think about oh yeah here's the theory behind it, because you know. Once you do kind of the same thing over and over again, every day, you kind of you know it's just gets to be more automatic so it was really it's really nice to kind of reflect on. Why we do things a certain way, how it helps our Community and things like that, and I really found that part of mentoring, to be really beneficial for my own practice. 

 Summer McMurry: Myrna, do you have any thoughts or Roxanne do you want to share your why you wanted to be mentors. 

 Myrna: Well, I think what a lot of other people have said, but it's just really nice to give back to the profession that you know, has given so much to you and you know just to sow into somebody else and see things grow and see someone that you've worked with maybe as a new therapist is now in a leadership position, working with other people, and I think that gives me a lot of joy. 

 Roxanne Pope: Yeah and, for me, remembering my very first job I remember the rehab director handed me a schedule and he's like okay. Have at it! I'm like I have no idea what I'm doing. So coming to Carolina Peds is really nice to be able to have... Myrna was actually my mentor, so having her for support and so I wanted to also be that for someone else as well. 

 Summer McMurry: Awesome okay well So what do you guys think. It takes to be a great mentor? What qualities does a person need to be a mentor? 

 Caroline Moore: I'll start with this one. So, I think the quality is the mentor is like one huge quality is someone that's able to develop a relationship with that mentee that allows for trust to happen. I think that is a huge component and then a relationship that can work both professionally and personally and that's a that's a fine balance to to find.  But I think we all know that, like all of these mentors are leaders, and you know great therapists in their own rights, so that's like, I don't even feel like I need to say that part on because that's just a given, but. 

 Kelly Shay: I don't even know if this is a real word and if it's not i'm just going to make it up for this. But the characteristic of individualism, being able to look at a person and know what they need is going to be totally different than maybe the last mentee that you oversaw so it's like you know.  Looking at each person and say you know you need more direct communication or you just need me to step back a little bit and you come to me with the questions and being able to kind of suss that out quickly um.  Because I think that makes or breaks of mentor relationship is being able to give each person what they need. 

 Summer McMurry: that's really good. 

 Catherine Tintle: Yeah being able to kind of look back step back and think deeply about every part of the job and not give too much support where it's not needed.  And just have that balance of Oh, they need help with their schedule, but you know their therapeutic report is awesome and just being able to kind of assess every level, you know from you know organization, documentation, scheduling, therapeutics, communication. Just kind of evaluating their performance and only providing just the right amount of support and so that you let them be independent. You're not telling them what to do, you're kind of coaching them so and you need to be organized. 

 Summer McMurry: Yes, anyone else?  Have we covered all the qualities, we feel like? 

 Jenn Milan: Being a good listener being empathetic kind of understanding, where they're coming from and putting yourself in their shoes and understanding Oh, this is their first job you know not expecting perfection, you know, the first time they see a client. I mean it's mentoring, is a lot of what makes us great therapists too, it's just kind of having that internal. You know empathy yeah. 

 Summer McMurry: Empathy is definitely an important quality. 

 Myrna: I think it's important to be a cheerleader you know to to be you're doing great you know, make sure that. I think it can be overwhelming when you start something new, so it's really nice to have somebody to  who's supporting you to go look at all the things you're doing great, you know and and even if everybody needs help, that's Okay, but you're doing great at this, and this, and this, and I think that's a quality of a mentor is to you know help be a cheerleader. Let them know all the great things they're doing. 

 Summer McMurry: Finding that magic ratio of, like, the five positive, to the one critical thing and the magic ratio it keeps people encouraged along the way. Sounds like, but you're good at that Myrna! I know that about you.  Okay well so um let's see what is looking like a minute what is a mentor what does that look like, for you guys on a regular basis when you're trying to connect with the person that you're mentoring, what does that look like? 

 Kelly Shay: Well, we we've got a weekly mentor meeting that we all do with each of our mentees. This is looks like a one hour every week or maybe 30 minutes once a week depending on where they're at in their Mentorship Program.  So the weekly check in, and then I know for my mentee and I we connect mostly through text, so if she's got a question she'll text me or call me. And then, if i've got a question for her either on documentation, or like hey I noticed this on your.  On your schedule you feeling good about it, we mostly connect through texts throughout the week, but we've got that one weekly standing meeting where her and I will meet over zoom every single week. 

 Myrna: it's it's also a lot of support of the documentation. You know everybody's medical records programs are different, and even the therapists that are coming here that have a lot of experience that. Our system is different than what they're used to, so we're looking over all the documentation and signing off and helping them to understand how our system works. 

 Caroline Moore: There are certain things that we have written that we want to hit on during the mentorship period starting you know at the beginning and then going to the very end. But it's loose because of the individualizing factor, because you know from one week to the next, we really we don't want to get too stuck on these things that we're supposed to hit on and not see what the mentee actually may need. 

 Summer McMurry: Right there's an ongoing kind of dialogue and really kind of measuring and assessing was needed, and then you kind of learn as you go together on that path right yeah. 

 Catherine Tintle: We also incorporate kind of goal setting and the mentee will come up with a goal with the mentor what they need to work on on focus and then check in and reflect on it, the next week, so that we're holding ourselves accountable. 

 Summer McMurry: yeah that accountability factor, what are some goals that.  New clinicians have for themselves. 

 Catherine Tintle: I think, for the new therapists that are coming on just getting their documentation getting a goal to work towards getting the time it takes down At first it takes a longer time and building your caseload. Maybe it's being more comfortable you know explaining our policies to the parents, practicing those scripts maybe even doing a role play with the mentor you know how do you handle this situation. 

 Summer McMurry: Some examples. Yeah For those of you who have gone through the mentoring is. What's been most helpful, this is kind of all strip the script a little bit, but what's been most helpful to you as you've been in the mentoring situation where you were getting advice from the mentor anything that stood out to you that's my sample. 

 Tess Gratton: I think, for me it was just having a go to person to answer my questions, I mean that was, I think, like three and a half years ago, and to Jenn was my mentor and she was also my. Grad student, wait, what was the Grad student supervisor. And so I already had a relationship with her and then she was my CF mentor too.  But I remember, I mean I learned so much from Jen whenever I was her student also her mentee and even after that, but just I mean any question that I had she was a great resource.  Whether it was documentation or questions about conversations I had to have with parents that were difficult or.  You know actual interventions that I wanted to use, you know really anything and everything she was she was my go-to, and it was more helpful than I can even explain. 

 Summer McMurry:  yeah awesome. Ashley, were you about to speak about any of that? 

 Ashley Kippins: I was, and I would say the same as test the number one most helpful thing is having a designated person to go to. Because you know, nobody, from my experience at this company would ever you know make you feel like a burden, if you had a question. But it's nice to not you know when you don't know anybody it's nice to not have to kind of go to. You know, someone next to you or a stranger that you don't really know and say you know I have this question, you know it's it's so much easier when you have a designated person to say like.  Oh, you know we'll do this during our mentoring time, like you, that way you don't feel like you're like wasting someone else's time you know and like I said, nobody would ever make you feel that way, but you know when you're new, you don't want to be. That girl who has all the questions you know so it's really helpful to have someone to go to for that.  

 Summer McMurry: Okay, so For those of you who have done mentoring, what do you. What have you observed, has been the impact on the mentee just from your perspective, like what have you observed and you guys have been mentee mentor and have shared some of the impact. What did you guys notice that maybe they haven't we didn't say? As far as the positive impact on on the mentee. 

 Catherine Tintle: I've just noticed just a overall calming and stress relief when you speak with them in the meet with them they're like. Okay, this person's got my back, and you know Carolina Peds spends like a full week of orientation, and which is great, but there's only so much your brain can hold on to, and so, when you actually start to do it they've been really, really did that, where they are to answer any question. Remember how it felt when I first started just being scared to even click something, because you didn't know if you're going to make a mistake so just being there to. You know, set their mind at ease has been a big impact that they feel like they have someone that they can go to and not like Ashley was saying. 

 Caroline Moore: I feel like I've observed folks who have come from um not-so-positive work environments where they have been  micromanaged, and don't have a trust factor I've observed like over the course of the months that are happening. People like relaxing into that and realizing hey yeah these people really are here to have my back they're not just saying that, and they are here to help me and if I make a mistake they're not going to punish me for that they're going to help me through it and figure out what I can do next time. 

 Myrna: I would say along those same lines is having a mentor-mentee relationship, it gives you permission to not have to know it all. Like none of us know at all and so, this relationship is like an like just opens the book to say we know you don't know it all. We don't know it all, but we're here to help you, and if we don't know the answer will help you find it, so I think I think when I first started working many, many, many years ago. You know I felt like I had to know it all like people hired me and expected me to know everything and and we don't nobody does so  that's what this relationship, I think, most importantly, does is just gives you permission, not to know it all and to know that someone's there to support you not judge you. 

 Summer McMurry: I think it's really important what you said, especially you know and thinking about the the values that we have here continuous growth and learning and even things like humility and being people smart and those things that really value here at Carolina Peds and that you know you don't have to you don't have to know it all and that's we try to tell people in the beginning, when they first start their job here's like this is a safe space for you to mess up  it's okay Look, we know you're not going to get 100% right and it's Okay, because you're going to learn from that mistake, if you make a mistake, so you know don't panic, if you make one and you've got mentors that can help you through it and help you figure out how to move forward next. So glad you said that Myrna that is so true that I think in professional fields, especially there is that pressure to feel like you got all together, and you know everything and everybody looks to you for the answers, and so you feel like you do have to know everything, and so it is good to know that. This supports in place or people said that they don't have to have that pressure, and you can really relax into the role and be comfortable in the role and learn and now you're just, learning and growing together in this that's really like the culture that we're trying to create here at Carolina Peds, is that it's great we're all learning we're all on the journey, we're all on the process together and so it's nice to be a team in that, and now you've got teammates have that you're back there so yeah OK, so the next question that I have is more about yourself what is the what's been most meaningful to you as a mentor what's the positive impact that that it's been for you. Because we know it's positive for the folks that are getting mentored, but how about yourself. 

 Jenn Milan: I would say it's very fulfilling to be able to help lift up another person and to give back and to support someone else who you know we've all been there either, whether it be in being a new new job or being a CF and it's just fulfilling it it's like a, It makes me smile internally, and it's not always easy, but it is always fulfilling. 

Catherine Tintle: I think the positive impact is that as being you know I've been a therapist for for many years, also and makes you excited again about profession and to teach is to learn, like Ashley was saying, and this makes me excited and makes me love my job and just just to switch it up from you know, working with the clients to helping kind of educate another therapist it's just you we all, we are all educators and it just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside and you know my job is pretty cool and my profession is also really awesome really cool. 

Kelly Shay: Better clinician and a better employee, so similar to like what actually was saying earlier. You know, to explain everything what we do it's you can't just walk the walk you now have to talk the talk, so I think it really makes me reflect back on, what am I doing, as you know, Carolina Peds employee in an SLP. And really makes me reflect on I just advised some someone else to do this, like now, I have to put into practice and a lot of times a lot easier said than done but you know you got to do it if you're going to explain it to somebody else it's like it's a constant reminder those weekly meetings I feel like constant reminder of like I need to be doing this too, like it's it's one thing to say it's another thing to do it I think it makes me a better clinician. 

 Myrna: I think it also keeps you current, you know, those of us who have been around a long time, you know we've been doing things we get in a get to where we do the same things all the time, the same way, because it works, and it has worked but then when your mentee is you know fresh out of school or come in with new and current ideas, then it keeps you current because you're like wow you know they're teaching it that way now and that's interesting and it I've learned so many things by observing other therapists and seeing what they're doing and different things that they're using and it just helps to keep me current too. 

 Summer McMurry: that's a great benefit if you're teaching, you have to stay current right. 

 Roxanne Pope: And, and so I can actually respond to this. So, I am actually just learned a lot about myself being a mentor. I've never really thought of myself or seeing myself in any sort of quote-unquote "leadership role". And so it just brought about different strengths, that I didn't realize I had different abilities. So issue was a personal it grew me personally, as well, so. 

 Summer McMurry: yeah that's not, there are a lot of different ways to lead right yeah it doesn't always have to be a position of leadership to lead this one thing that we talked about here is like we are leaders serving future leaders who also serve each other right and it is so true. Especially in the mentoring role, because you guys are all leaders and everybody's leading someone right? When you're leading your families or whether you're leading students or another clinician or your peers we're all leading somebody so that's a really good point Roxanne, I appreciate you sharing that. Okay anybody else have thought about that.  As far as a positive impact on yourself. So what does success look like as a mentor? As your as you're going into it, or as you've been doing it, What is it, what does it mean to be successful, as a mentor? 

 Ashley Kippins: As someone who's a new mentor, I my goal for the end of our mentor mentee relationship is that my mentee is confident and feels like they you know, they have that support system, but they can also competently lead others and kind of like how this straight off has happened with me and Jenn where  you know, she was my mentor and now I'm a mentor and I feel like that would make me feel really good, like, Jenn, you did a really good job and now I feel confident to lead somebody else, so I want that, for my mentee too, yeah. 

 Summer McMurry: And that's definitely success right there. 

 Jenn Milan: I was definitely going to mention that, like having having somebody you mentor become a mentor it is just like the best feeling because it feels like I helped this person achieve that confidence and that that level of ability or knowing they have the ability, internally to like, mentor someone else, so yeah that's definitely success. 

 Kelly Shay: Yeah, I was gonna say when the confidence increases, and the questions start decreasing and I don't think the questions will ever go away, I still look to my mentor who I had three years ago and I asked her questions all the time. So I don't think the questions will ever go away, but it has been really cool watching you know my very first meeting with my CF she, you know she was like okay I've got six questions I've written them down over the past few days, and now it's like we go into our mentor meetings and I'm like. How you doing like you got any questions and she's like actually no I don't have anything and she was like I feel really confident right now with like my schedule and I don't have any documentation questions, so it's it's really cool watching those questions decrease and I, you know, I love the questions, I don't think they'll ever go away because I know mine didn't, but it is cool seeing them decrease week after week yeah. 

 Summer McMurry: I think it's really interesting there what you said just about you know even beyond the mentor relationship after you're done with mentorship that that relationship is still there and I think that is so important, I mean I have mentors that mentored me 20 years ago and still in connection with those people and they still help me through things professionally even personally like we have those relationships and so it's it's nice to you know I think that's beyond even the six to nine months that you have. Those relationships I've it sounds like Jen Marta you guys have been in mentor relationships, a lot and then people that are now you're bringing up mentoring you're gonna have those relationships, for a very long time and that's really that's really nice in this profession because we're always trying to grow and learn and things change all the time, so it's nice to have people that you can can call on there, and have those long term relationships. so Okay, so how does this group support you guys, in your role as a mentor. 

Roxanne Pope: I love this group of peoplebecause I always come and I I I tend to focus on the areas where I struggle and they're just so encouraging uplifting and provide really good feedback and suggestions to go and implement and so I'm just very thankful, like just so supportive um yeah that's that's all I have to say. 

 Summer McMurry: Wonderful. 

 Kelly Shay: Yeah. 

 Catherine Tintle: I love this group. 

 Kelly Shay: It is a sounding board for all of the ideas, all the struggles all the triumphs I feel like every time we come in to this meeting it's like someone's sharing something amazing that's happened in like we're all just here to  share the positives share the negatives, is it's a safe space, but it's a it's a really good sounding board to get all of our ideas and get suggestions. 

 Catherine Tintle: I think it's great that Carolina Peds offers the mentors a support system so that we can be consistent, because if you've worked at a job, where you got a different question every person, you ask that can be stressful and frustrating, so we really work to to get everything consistent and then also as things come up, no one mentor might create some kind of resource and checklist for something that their mentee needed that we can also use or something to keep us organized and so it's a great collaborative approach. 

 Ashley Kippins: Awesome, yeah I agree with that and also it's a good way to kind of diversify your experience, because you know you have one mentee but like with this group it's almost like everyone's your mentee so you're learning from things that these other mentors are doing with their mentee that you know may not be something that comes up with your mentee or maybe it will be your next mentee that now you already have this skill, because you've learned from the other mentors like oh that happened with you know Roxanne's mentee last time and I remember the suggestions that she got when she was having. You know this question or whatever it may be, so I do feel like you know. In addition to all that you're learning from being a mentor to your own mentee you learn so much about just how to be a mentor in general, from this group. 

 Summer McMurry: So it's like your own little coaching mastermind group you guys have together, where you're all learning from each other and you're growing and you're getting to share  vicariously experiences and and really support each other along the journey. Okay was there anything else that you feel like listeners might need to know about the mentoring program or anything else you guys would like to share. 

 Summer McMurry: Alright that's it Thank you so much, and I really appreciate you all sharing all this insight into the mentoring program here and we'll continue the conversation. 

 Summer McMurry: Thank you.