A formal mentoring programme has been established for all students in the Department. The aim of the mentoring programme is to assist all students in excelling and developing into citizens who can make a contribution to their work and living environment.
Mentoring is defined as a “voluntary, intense, committed, extended, dynamic, interactive, supportive, trusting relationship between two people, one experienced, and the other a newcomer, characterized by mutuality” (Hayes 1998). Characteristics of the mentor include being supportive, being a facilitator, being encouraging, promoting independence and conveying joy (Singletary 2005). Further, a good mentor responds in a sensitive way, is a good listener, open and honest, nonjudgmental, approachable, available, patient and has a genuine interest in helping the mentee (Ridout 2006).
With these characteristics in mind, a name for the mentorship programme that will reflect the characteristics of a mentorship programme for Physiotherapy students was created. An acronym H.A.P.P.Y was created that stands for:
P: positive attitude
P: productive participant
Y: yearning for learning
According to the Oxford dictionary (2000), happy is defined as: “the state of pleasurable content of mind, which results from success or the attainment of what is considered good”. The acronym H.A.P.P.Y therefore reflects the characteristics of a mentorship programme (Milner and Bossers 2004, Hayes 1998, Ridout 2006, Singletary 2005) as well as the aim envisaged with the programme, namely to give every student the opportunity to attain happiness and develop as a physiotherapist who is able to give advice and relevant health education to patients as part of the physiotherapy (Pryor and Prasad 2002) and have a positive influence on their patients, colleagues, as well as the community of which he/she will be part of.