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Protege Guidelines

Preceptor Program

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AHVAP wants to ensure you have a positive mentoring experience.

Setting the Scene

AHVAP is excited to offer you the opportunity to work 1-on-1 with a preceptor from the value analysis field.  We hope you will find this a valuable process and that you will be able to learn from their experience and expertise.  As you embark upon your preceptor/protégé relationship, we strongly encourage you to take a few minutes to plan for the relationship and how to make the most of the experience.

We encourage you to establish an agreement with your preceptor regarding your relationship, mutual expectations and goals.  Suggested topics for discussion are:

  1. Frequency of contact - How often do you and your preceptor plan to communicate?  We generally recommend bi-weekly calls, transitioning to once a month, and as needed.
  2. Absences from communication - Agree to let your partner know when you will not be able to maintain that frequency.
  3. Duration of the relationship - relationships are designed to last 6 months, and can be renewed in 6 month increments.
  4. Establishing goals - What do you really want to accomplish in this experience?
  5. Agree to provide feedback

Suggested Behaviors for Protégés

  1. Demonstrate interest, helpful intent, and involvement. When you talk with your preceptor, clear your mind of unnecessary thoughts and distractions, so that you can give them your undivided attention
  2. Establish rapport by learning or remembering personal information about the preceptor.
  3. Keep in frequent contact with your preceptor. Even a short email or phone call can make a big difference.
  4. Be available and keep office hours and appointments.
  5. Follow up on commitments and goals.
  6. Don't be critical of others to your preceptor.
  7. Be yourself and give your preceptor room to be themselves.
  8. Remember that active listening is one of the most important skills of a good protégé.

Suggested Activities for Protégés

The following are activities that we suggest you do with your preceptor if you are able to meet them in person.  The AHVAP Education Conference & Supplier Showcase, a Regional Meeting, and other industry meetings are all great opportunities to meet face to face.

  1. Engage in lunch meetings discussing different topics including industry challenges, recent lessons learned, career planning, and applicable certifications or education.
  2. Introduce colleagues and industry contacts to your preceptor.
  3. Show your preceptor some of your favorite places in your town/city - places they might otherwise never discover.
  4. Attend cultural and sporting events together.

Goal Setting

In order to have a successful mentoring relationship, we encouraging you to set the pace and direction for what you hope to accomplish through mentoring.

We ask you to read the following questions and sample answers and try to develop some goals for yourself.

  1. What are your goals for this mentoring relationship? (e.g. learning best practices, honing management skills, defining a career path)
  2. How will you know if you reached these goals? (e.g. improved performance, enhanced confidence, plan for personal development)
  3. What challenges can you anticipate? (e.g. project priority, job market is slow, organization's limitations)

Communication is Key

Speaking to someone on the phone or in person allows them to use hand gestures, facial expressions, and voice modulation for conveying meaning.  However, this must be replaced in other forms when one can only rely on emails. The following are some ideas that we believe are critical to a solid mentoring relationship:

  1. Meaningful Subject Line.
    One major reason for a good subject line is to ensure your recipient's recognition of your message and avoid an accidental delete. Another reason is that it will immediately give your preceptor a clear idea of what your message contains and what it is you want to discuss.
  2. Clear and Concise Messages.
    Did your preceptor make their point clear? Do you understand what they are saying? Asking for clarification will allow your preceptor to restate, elaborate, or reconsider what it is they are trying to convey.  More words are not better!
  3. Investigating Assumptions.
    Your preceptor may not have stated their assumptions, but can they be understood? What are the underlying assumptions in the question or message? Stating your understanding of it or asking your preceptor about them can be useful toward preventing misinterpretations.
  4. Communicating About Communication.
    We cannot stress enough the importance of letting each other know your schedules in advance. This helps to prevent communication breakdown, which often results in unnecessary frustration.

Exit Strategy

Some mentoring partnerships end with successful completion of learning goals. Some do not for a host of reasons. Even unproductive or unsatisfactory mentoring relationships can benefit from having a good closure experience. The key to successful closure is being prepared with an exit strategy. A good exit strategy has five components:

  1. A learning conclusion (processing of the learning that went on in the relationship while working toward achievement of learning goals)
  2. A process for integrating what was learned (a conversation focusing on how to apply the learning and taking it to the next level)
  3. A meaningful way of celebrating success (collaboratively planning a mutually satisfying way to celebrate successful achievement of goals, or a particular accomplishment)
  4. A conversation focusing on redefining the relationship (talking about how the relationship is to continue, whether it moves from professional mentoring relationship to colleague, friendship, or ceases to exist at all)
  5. Moving on (letting go by both partners and identifying ways to keep in touch, if appropriate and/or mutually desired)

We now encourage you and your preceptor to discuss your transition from your current position to your post-mentoring endeavors. They be in a position to help you better prepare for what lies ahead and thus reduce the anxieties you may have about the changes that await just around the corner. Listening to their advice could help you realize your full potential.
Nothing can replace experience!

Follow Up

Program Evaluation/Exit Survey - At the end of the mentoring period, you will be asked to fill out a short evaluation of the program. We rely on your feedback to improve our programs.  Please speak freely and provide constructive feedback.
Problems and Suggestions - If at any time you have any problems with, or suggestions regarding your mentoring experience, please let us know at We are here to help!

If you, at any time during your mentoring connection, feel that you cannot fulfill your part of this commitment, please do let us and your preceptor know.  Also, if you feel that your preceptor is having trouble maintaining the relationship, tell us that too. We are committed to helping all of our members find their way to successful mentoring relationships.

Good luck, and have fun!

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