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"Mentoring" for Health Care Professionals


Mentorship is defined as "a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person".  It is more than a transfer of knowledge.  It is an empowerment process involving sharing wisdom, enhancing confidence, and building experience. 


In the past few years, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (ministry) have provided funding to support diabetes educators (nurse and dietitian) in community organizations to create accessible diabetes care. As a result, many new diabetes educators have been hired and given appropriate education, but have not had the opportunity to gain knowledge from experience, as they often do not have exposure to endocrinologists or experienced staff. With the increasing prevalence of diabetes, community diabetes programs are expected to take on more complex diabetes cases. 


The Waterloo Wellington Diabetes mentoring program was developed by the Waterloo-Wellington Diabetes Regional Coordination Centre (RCC) in 2011, through an educational grant from NovoNordisk. The outcomes and feedback from clinicians were so successful that funding was secured through the Ontario Diabetes Strategy, to continue the program to support clinicians in the region to develop their knowledge, skill and judgment in managing their patients with diabetes. 


Objectives of the Mentoring Program:

• To enhance the skill level of entry level diabetes educators to care for more complex patients within the community program
• To support community programs in initiating and titrating insulin on people with diabetes
• To create sustainable qualified diabetes educators for complex care


Mentoring Program:

  • An experienced Certified Diabetes Educator (mentor) partners with a diabetes educator or clinician in his/her own work area for approximately 4 hours/week, supporting him/her in seeing complex patients
  • The patients are scheduled on a pre-determined day when the mentor would be present 
  • The mentoring has an open agenda, focusing on the needs of each individual educator/clinician 
  • The number of sessions per staff member is based on their experience, knowledge, skill-set and willingness to continue
  • At the end of the session the educator does a self reflection and identifies areas they would like to improve upon or topic areas which they feel they need assistance
  • The mentor critiques the counseling event focusing on developing motivational counseling skills, increasing the educators knowledge of diabetes related topics, offering ideas of alternate teaching strategies and most of all identifying the positive knowledge and skills the educator is already using in the session
  • This approach reflects adult learning principles, assessment of readiness to learn, principles of motivational interviewing, and empowerment
  • This approach also mirrors the concepts of diabetes education, which enhances and reinforces their learning through demonstration  
  • Confidentiality agreements are signed between the mentor and organization prior to participating with patients 
  • Outcome measurements include knowledge, confidence and comfort level compared to pre-mentorship 

Examples of Topics covered in Mentorship program

  • How to effectively review blood glucose log books
  • Recognition of  blood sugar patterns
  • Hypoglycemia in the elderly, nocturnal hypoglycemia and required insulin adjustment
  • Insulin action profiles
  • Teaching techniques using alternative teaching tools
  • Current diabetes management strategies (Type 1, Type 2, GDM)
  • Use of open ended questioning in assessment

Other Services Offered

  • Inservices
  • Webinars to support individuals preparing to write their CDE exams
  • Case study reviews

Staff Responses

  • "In the past, we attend educational events, which are helpful, but when we return to work, we sometimes forget what we learned and lose our confidence"
  • “This program really helps my confidence in what I do every day”
  • “All the ideas of teaching tools and different ways to teach the same topic is really helpful”
  • “We all know the kind of questions we should use in assessment. I didn’t realize I was missing the obvious until you asked the client the question--Why didn’t I think of that?”
  • “Giving me an example of the way to pose the question to get the patient talking was really helpful”
  • “It is extremely helpful to have someone from outside come in to provide mentoring. It allows me as an experienced staff member to continue a working relationship with my peers and open communication, and not be seen as constantly being the one to offer feedback or fill in the knowledge gaps”
  •  “I didn’t know how to handle some of the questions the client asked. I learned a lot just from having the mentor provide the answers”

How do I access a mentor?


If you are a health care professional working in the Waterloo Wellington region, and interested in having the support of a diabetes mentor, please call 519-947-1000 x282 or email wendyg@langs.org


 Funding support provided by:






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