Traditionally when you graduated in natural health, you would become an apprentice to a more experienced practitioner. Today, this is no longer the case, which is why many health practitioners recommend that students seek a mentor.
A mentor is someone who advises you in your professional or personal life. Mentoring relationships can take many forms, but they are generally focused on growth and development and have many benefits.
Having a mentor can help you find direction, set or clarify goals and stay on track. Through this relationship, you can expand your network and develop your skills, including skills like self-awareness, problem-solving and communication. A supportive mentor will advocate for you and help you gain confidence in your chosen career.
Endeavour Curriculum Facilitator Cherie Caut is at a stage in her career where she can give back. She loves mentoring students as they prepare to enter the natural health industry. Cherie had mentors in her supervisors during her Honours degree and PhD and believes they were pivotal to her success. She shares three tips for Endeavour students seeking to find a mentor.
1.Work out what you want
“Be clear about what you’d like from a mentor. Before you approach any potential mentors, do some research and reflection. Consider what you want to learn from them. Would you like to see what’s involved in running a business? Do you want to know how a dispensary works? Do they treat a health condition that you are interested in?”
“Think about how much time you have available and when, and, although it may be challenging as a student, consider what you can offer them for their time, especially if you are using an appointment time,” Cherie said. “Keep in mind that some practices, such as Green Door Health, offer individual student mentoring or programs as part of their services.”
2. Approach natural health professionals who inspire you
“I recommend you find a clinician within the field that resonates with you. You may find a mentor in your local suburb or from the other side of the world. It will depend on what you’re looking for, so search online and in person.”
“Look for practitioners that inspire you and be courageous enough to ask the question,” Cherie said. “Pick up the phone, briefly explain how they inspire you and what you hope to learn from them as a mentor.”
3. Every conversation opens a door
“You may have to make a few phone calls before you have a breakthrough. Do not take this to heart. Health professionals also must weigh up if they can invest time and energy in the mentoring relationship,” Cherie said. “If they cannot help you, they may be able to suggest other practitioners or resources that you can try. Remember, every conversation opens a door, and you will expand your network and opportunities in the natural health industry.”
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Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.
The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.
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