Mentorship Overview


Mentorship Purpose

The purpose of the mentor rotation is to bring DAOM fellow together with qualified professionals duly licensed in their field – the latter to help the fellow navigate agreed-upon areas of their professional development as an acupuncturist.  The mentee directly engages a senior practitioner (usually healthcare) in a systematic and interactive approach to a skill-set, such as patient diagnosis and treatment, often in the clinical setting of the mentor.  fellows achieve competency in advanced patient assessment and treatment as defined in their own objectives for the experience (within the parameters of the EC curriculum guidelines). Mentorships provide opportunities to gain a depth of knowledge or experience in areas of particular interest to the fellow and are generally in the outpatient setting.

What is Mentoring

Mentor: a wise and trusted counselor or teacher (  Mentoring is a structured and trusted relationship, matching the DAOM fellow with another more accomplished in an identified skill-set or knowledge base, with the goal of guiding, supporting, and encouraging the development of the mentee. The classic mentoring story appears in Homer’s Odyssey, where Telemachus guides young Mentor.  Many mentoring resources and research focuses on adults mentoring youth. Effective mentoring, like counseling, places an importance on the relationship between the mentor and the mentee. Mutual trust, respect, commitment, and collegiality are important to the relationship and the process.

What Mentoring is Not

A major difference between mentoring and other developmental processes, such as supervision and coaching is that the agenda is mentee-driven. Furthermore the discussions are confidential and take place outside any management processes, such as supervision. Consequently, the mentor acts as a conduit to self-discovery and reflection and gives the mentee space and time to make their own decisions. This aim will be facilitated through the following objectives: To give mentees the opportunity to build networks. To help to build a framework of support for mentees. To facilitate career and personal development planning. To give mentees feedback for reflection. To give mentees an opportunity to challenge preconceived ideas.

Who Can Be a Mentor

Mentors and Supervisors for offsite projects are selected by the DAOM Fellow with approval by the DAOM Office. The Emperor’s College DAOM Program approves mentors and supervisors according to certain guidelines. Mentors and Supervisors must meet at least one of the follow requirements:

  • Must hold a doctorate or terminal degree such as a PhD, DAOM, degree in a Western healthcare profession (MD, DO, DC, DPT), or hold equivalent status from abroad such as a masters degree (i.e. MD (Taiwan), MD (China)), and state recognition for advanced academic standing.
  • Must have been in practice for a minimum of ten years, and have identified expertise in an area of interest for the fellow to benefit from the mentorship, and provide sufficient patient or other work load for quality of instruction at a doctorate level.
  • Mentor must have attained distinction in the field related to the project. Distinction is qualified as either publications or presentations, or as specific focus, knowledge and experience in a particular area.

Mentors and Supervisors must provide current license verification in their practice area (if applicable) and current curriculum vitae (Resume) to the DAOM Office with the application.

Mentorship Process



The purpose of mentoring is to provide the best advice and counsel to enable the DAOM fellow to realize their full potential and thus to make a valuable contribution to the profession.  Success in acupuncture depends not only on strong academic preparation, but also on making the right career choices. Having made the right choice, moving upward through the profession often involves career ‘step changes’. These require new personal skills, as well as professional expertise, to cope effectively with greater professional autonomy and responsibility.  The goals of the DAOM mentor-mentee relationship are: To provide fellow an opportunity to directly engage with a senior (health care) practitioner in a systematic and interactive approach to patient diagnosis and treatment and to learn advanced and unique patient assessment and treatment techniques from a senior practitioner, and to develop consultation and collaboration skills. To allow the fellow to practice the skills of lifelong learning through the development of personalized learning plans and build collegial networks through the mentorship.


After satisfactory completion of the mentorship rotation, the fellow should have demonstrated the ability: To develop and carry out  a personalized learning plan through the following activities: Accurate practice-based performance needs assessment related to the clinical specialty of pain management. Develop the performance needs assessment into a criterion list to be learned within the mentoring relationship. Identify practitioners who fulfill those criteria. Negotiate a teaching/learning mentorship relationship for the stated objectives, based on the practice-based needs assessment. Use advanced clinical knowledge to demonstrate the deepened skills of assessment and treatment in a pain management specialty area. To demonstrate essential clinical treatment skills in pain management. To integrate oriental medicine and biomedicine theoretically and clinically. To collaborate effectively with other healthcare practitioners in patient care. To use classical literature to develop advanced clinical strategies and to understand to a greater degree the use of Evidence Based Medicine and Evidence Informed Practice in clinical practice. To demonstrate the skills needed for leadership and teaching in acupuncture and oriental medicine in an advanced clinical setting.

Role of the Mentee

Mentoring is a two-way process, however, mentee is expected to drive the relationship forward. This means locating, establishing and maintaining contact with the mentor, being proactive and setting objectives for the program. A mentee is expected to be:

  • Willing to enter the relationship with a clear set of objectives
  • Willing to learn and to discuss issues
  • Willing to challenge your views, behaviors, assumptions and ways of working
  • Able to ask for and receive feedback
Mentorship Application Process

Fellows must submit an application with completed learning goals and objectives for the mentorship. A description of activities must be included, with a plan for assessing how well the objectives have been met. The mentor must agree to the proposed plan by their written signature on the plan or by separate letter, after viewing the application goals and objectives. The application with goals and objectives must be approved by the Mentor and the DAOM Program Director. The objectives articulated by the fellow for the mentorship (agreed on by the mentor and approved by the DAOM Program Director) are then used to create the best learning methods and evaluations for that experience. In addition to the gain in clinical skills and knowledge, this process consolidates the teaching and learning skills of designing clinical learning experiences in a practical way and allows the fellow to practice the skills of lifelong learning through the development of personalized learning plans. The mentors evaluate the learner on the basis of the Learning Plan. Fellows may also choose to create a portfolio entry that highlights the learning experience. Please visit the Mentorship Syllabus at to register your Mentorship.

Identify the Point of the Mentorship

Perhaps no single issue is more responsible for the success or failure of a mentorship than the identification by the mentee of the reasons for initiating the mentorship.  

Selection of a Mentor and Mentee

The literature is replete with information on this topic.  Simply Googling these terms will provide ample information as to desirable qualities and processes.

Orientation Plan

Plan a time to meet with mentors and mentees to provide a program orientation. This orientation might include:

  • Overview of program
  • Goals and objectives of program
  • Roles and expectations of mentors and mentees
  • Eligibility
  • Benefits and rewards for both mentors and mentees
  • Program policies (confidentiality, mentoring is not supervision nor therapy)
  • Program contacts (be sure mentors and mentees can reach someone should they need assistance when first establishing their relationship).


It is expected that the mentor and mentee will meet regularly. It is standard practice that the mentee should be the driver behind the mentoring relationship, therefore it is the mentee’s responsibility to make and maintain contact with their mentor. Contact between mentor and mentee will be regular and ongoing. The mentor should not go into detail of discussing data or planning experiments. This is the correct role of the supervisor. Rather, the mentor should act as a sounding board for the mentees’ thoughts and should enable and empower the mentee. In essence, the mentor should be approachable, a good listener and should not dominate the interaction.

The First Meeting- Getting Started

At the beginning of a mentoring partnership the mentor and mentee will need to:

  • establish rapport and get to know each other
  • develop a sense of common purpose
  • build an understanding of what to expect from each other

Both might want to cover:

  • the mentee and mentor career (and some personal) history
  • the mentee’s DAOM program, people involved, how they feel about it
  • the atmosphere and context in the acupuncture field
  • the mentee’s career plans/long-term goals
  • mentoring style – what is useful- e.g. directive or nondirective approaches
  • responsibility – usually the mentee is responsible for managing the partnership with the mentor’s providing support.
  • Meetings – when? how long? how frequent? face to face or other communication methods
  • how the partnership will be reviewed – when the partnership will end, what to do if it doesn’t work
  • how the benefits will be evaluated.

Mentoring meetings

The content of each meeting might typically include:

  • reflection on events, progress and action points since last meeting- facts and feelings
  • aims for this meeting (set by mentee)
  • exploration of current problems
  • implications for development needs
  • exploring options to address these problems/ needs
  • action planning.

Throughout each meeting the mentor will be probing, challenging and helping to analyze.

Commitment and Time Frame

Mentor and mentee might establish guidelines for how they might work together. For example, a one month to two month time frame will give the two some parameters with which to work.  An open-ended mentor/mentee arrangement may lead to fatigue for both parties.


The mentorship experience normally is compensation-free.  The mentor has valued knowledge and/or experience to offer the mentee.  The mentee has valued time and energy to offer the mentor. It is considered a wash.  In the event that the mentor expects to be compensated, the mentee is at-choice as to whether to provide it; EC will not be party to any such arrangement. On the other hand, the mentor may offer to compensate the mentee for his/her mentorship services; the College has no objection to such an arrangement, nor will it share in such.

Professional and Ethical Considerations

In recognition of the professional status of the relationship and to ensure that mentoring is effective and conducive to personal and professional development the following guidelines must be followed:

  • Meeting agendas are driven by the mentee
  • The mentor must ensure that any limits to confidentiality are agreed at the start of the relationship and that (outside these limits) confidentiality is not broken unless agreed with their mentee
  • The mentor must recognize when the requirements of their mentee are outside their level of expertise and be prepared to guide their mentee to alternative appropriate resources
  • Both parties must abide by the policies of EC
  • Either party can approach the Emperor’s Clinic Director or DAOM Program Director if the mentoring relationship isn’t working effectively
  • Neither party is to act in a discriminatory, harassing or bullying way
  • Neither party are to collude in any dishonest, unlawful or unprofessional behavior
  • It is not the role of the mentor to ‘tell’ their mentee what to do
  • The mentor must ensure that any records or notes that they take are kept confidential
  • The mentor must express any conflict of interest between their role as a mentor and any other role
Evaluation and Assessment

The DAOM fellow will be evaluated on the basis of the application and stated learning goals and objectives approved by the DAOM Program Director; evaluations may include the following forms:

  • Clinical performance evaluation form completed by the professional mentor quarterly.
  • Filling out a checklist of clinical outcomes, behaviors, Integrative Case Reviews (quarterly) that demonstrate the objectives identified by the mentor together with the fellow specific to the mentorship.
  • fellows may demonstrate to the satisfaction of the mentor any newly acquired or deepened skills in assessment and treatment, for which the mentor may use this behavioral observation within his/her, evaluation of the fellow.
  • The fellow will maintain clinical daily logs where client cases are logged and the fellow may elect to use a “mentorship journal” format to record self-reflective components of the mentorship. Entries may be refined or expanded for inclusion in their DAOM Portfolio.
Requirements and Procedures

Fellows may start a mentorship program during their first year. If a Fellow plans to participate in a mentorship clinical rotation, she/he must complete all required documents and papers three months prior to the mentorship start.

Fellows must submit an application with goals and objectives stating their learning plans for a particular mentorship, a description of activities and a plan for assessing how well the objectives have been met. The clinical mentor must approve the proposed plan by their written signature on the plan or by separate letter.

DAOM Program Office will review the qualifications of the clinical mentor and learning plan, the fellow will be notified of the decision within 2 weeks after submission of the required documentation.

The minimum recommended time to be spent with each clinical mentor is 50 hours. The maximum time with one or more mentors is 150 hours. fellows are response to keep track their time, to complete daily clinical logs, and to turn in the time card when they complete the mentorship program.

There is no required minimum number of treatments; however, the fellows must keep daily clinical logs even if the clinical experience is observation. The daily clinical logs should be filled out as completely as possible: age, gender, chief complaint(s), clinical case type, and date of the treatment. The purpose of the daily clinical logs is to track the clinical experiences the fellow is exposed to through observation, treating, and learning about.  Logs may be turned in quarterly with the Quarterly Evaluation. Fellows are strongly encouraged to complete the logs daily, as they are going through their clinical experiences to improve accuracy of documentation and clinical tracking.

Program and Format

The format of Mentorship varies, it depends on the specialty, the clinical format, the style of the mentor, and the fellow’s identified learning needs. The mentorship may include the following activities:

  • Observation of the Mentor in clinical practice; engagement in clinical reasoning discussions; case conceptualization; and the use critical thinking to evaluate the diagnostics and treatment approaches used by the mentor in patient care.
  • Observed the mentor in the methodology of patient assessment and treatment.
  • Discuss, present cases, and consult regarding patients seen by the fellows in their own clinical practice or in the EC Clinic, without using PHI that might identify the patient, unless the patient has signed a release to disclose.
  • Participation in clinical research activities that support a mentor’s research, including performing the duties of research assistant, research coordinator, or performing supportive activities that expose the fellow to clinical research.