By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Timothy Wilson, National Naval Medical Center Public Affairs
May 7, 2010 - BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Sailors are encouraged to take charge of their personal and professional development through a mentorship program where junior Sailors receive guidance and direction from senior Sailors.
At the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC), any Sailor may join the program, in the role of a mentor or mentee, to share knowledge, skills, information and general perspectives to help boost a Sailor's growth and understanding of Navy life.
"This program is so important to the command and its staff because it offers Sailors a place to find guidance and leadership in a way that makes them feel comfortable and in control," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Joanne Houde, the main point of contact for the mentorship program at NNMC. "Sometimes Sailors may want to seek answers outside of their immediate chain of command and a good mentor will always encourage them to do the right thing."
The mentorship program is not designed to give Sailors a definitive answer to a question, she said, but rather to impart knowledge to enable the Sailors to make an educated decision themselves.
"I can not even count the number of times that I went to my mentor for answers or even advice on which path to take for my career and it was always on my terms," Houde said. "The NNMC mentorship program is designed to provide Sailors with the opportunity to choose a mentor who fits their goals and ambitions by making the appropriate tools available."
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (FMF) Marvin Maramil, a radiology technician at NNMC, is a 10-year veteran and a mentor.
"I have had a good career so far and my progress up the ranks has been better than average," Maramil said.
"People are curious as to how they can succeed and get to where they want to be."
Maramil has been a mentor since February and is sponsoring three junior Sailors.
"Mentors have always been available, but people don't always take advantage of [the opportunity]," Maramil said. "Young Sailors just starting off need guidance and will have questions about the career path of [senior] Sailors. A mentor steers them in the right direction."
A mentor may give guidance in an official or unofficial manner to educate a junior Sailor by identifying their expectations of the Navy, short- and long-term goals, the benefits of submitting an officer package or answering general questions about Navy life.
"It is based on trust. They come to you," Maramil said. "[Mentoring] is done on an individual basis, but it's put out command-wide, so we can encourage more people to join the program."
The program will eventually be open to civilians at NNMC, but currently, the primary focus is on the junior Sailors, Houde said. Once the junior Sailors have a mentor in place, the program will be expanded to include all staff members.
Houde suggests Sailors take full advantage of the program, especially if they're looking for additional guidance. She added that the program is spearheaded by NNMC's First Class Association and aims to help as many individuals as possible.
"Everyone could use a mentor," Houde said. "My mentor was always there for me."
"Regardless of whether he was there to guide me in my naval career or just there to listen when I needed someone to talk to, he always answered that call regardless of where in the world either of us were," Houde said.
A strong match between the mentor and mentee is based on the accomplishments of the senior Sailor and the junior Sailor wanting to follow that lead, according to Mamaril.