MANSAG is the Medical Association of Nigerians across Great Britain.
Despite the odds, this association has been growing from strength to strength in supporting Nigerian doctors in the UK. Recently their mentoring activities have been reinvigorated by Nigerian doctors in training, and ably led by Nkem Onyeador – herself a paediatric registrar. Over the last few scientific meetings of MANSAG and during the periods in between, links between mentors and mentees have been established. I have taken up this opportunity myself and supported a few Nigerian colleagues in finding their way when specialising in public health. This has not only benefited the colleagues, but has also brought me significant satisfaction.
But recently, MANSAG has taken this activity one step further by organising a training event for mentors to equip us with the skills to be effective mentors. Going to the event on the day – it was difficult to know what to expect. But getting to the event, it brought immense pride to see close to 40 Nigerian colleagues, mostly senior consultants and general practioners who had converged at the location to avail themselves of this opportunity. They had made the time, and committed the resources to come from Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool etc to train themselves and each other with the skills to support younger colleagues.
The energy in the room was amazing, as we shared experiences, absorbed each others ideas and challenged ourselves on the different approaches to mentoring; from an informal and formal perspective. We shared the pitfalls, and the triumphs, the benefits and the challenges. In the room were surgeons, physicians, general practioners, public health physicians etc …all with so much to share, to give and to receive. The session itself was delivered by a professional trainer on mentoring with a long history of working in the health sector. His professionalism was appreciated and acknowledged. No doubt this will be the first in a mutually beneficial collaboration with MANSAG.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead