There is limited information on how academic institutions support effective mentoring practices for new investigators. A national semi-structured telephone interview was conducted to assess current “state of the art” mentoring practices for KL2 scholars among the 46 institutions participating in the Clinical Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Consortium. Mentoring practices examined included: mentor selection, articulating and aligning expectations, assessing the mentoring relationship, and mentor training. Telephone interviews were conducted in winter/fall 2009, with 100% of the CTSAs funded (n = 46) through 2009, participating in the survey. Primary findings include: five programs selected mentors for K scholars, 14 programs used mentor contracts to define expectations, 16 programs reported formal mentor evaluation, 10 offered financial incentives to mentors, and 13 offered formal mentoring training. The interviews found considerable variation in mentoring practices for training new investigators among the 46 CTSAs. There was also limited consensus on “what works” and what are the core elements of “effective mentoring practices. Empirical research is needed to help research leaders decide on where and how to place resources related to mentoring.
mentoring; training; clinical and translational research
Mentoring is an important element in the training of new investigators, particularly for KL2, K12, K08, and K23 funded scholars who are often physicians or other clinicians with limited prior research experience. Matching K scholars with appropriate mentors who have the mentoring skills and available time is an ongoing challenge for most universities. The goal of this paper is to present a variety of strategies used to select mentors for K awardees. The information presented in this special communication is derived from the literature, a national survey of CTSA leaders, as well as K scholar and K mentor focus groups.
Some of the mentor selection methods discussed in this paper include a) having the scholar find a mentor as part of the application process for the award, b) selecting mentors post award, c) expecting the chair of the department to identify a mentor(s), d) using a committee to match the scholar and a mentor based on a pool of approved mentors e) selecting additional mentors as the scholar’s research program develops. The paper concludes that mentor selection requires an ongoing programmatic approach with the active participation of K scholars, CTSA program leaders, center directors, research deans and chairs.
research mentor selection
To document the frequency of policies and activities in support of mentoring practices at institutions receiving a U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA).
The study consisted of a 69-item survey with questions about the inclusion (formal or informal) of policies, programs/activities and structures supporting mentoring within CTSA-sponsored research (i.e., KL2 programs) and, more broadly, in the CTSA’s home institution. The survey, conducted from November 2010 through January 2011, was sent to the 55 institutions awarded a CTSA at the time of the survey. Follow-up phone interviews were conducted to clarify responses as needed.
Fifty-one of 55 (92%) institutions completed the survey for institutional programs and 53 of 55 (96%) for KL2 programs. Responses regarding policies and activities involving mentor criteria, mentor–mentee relationship, incentives, and evaluative mechanisms revealed considerable variability between KL2 and institutional programs in some areas, such as having mentor qualification criteria and processes to evaluate mentors The survey also identified areas, such as training and women and minority mentoring programs, where there was frequent sharing of activities between the institutional and KL2 programs.
KL2 programs and institutional programs tend to have different preferences for policies versus activities to optimize qualification of mentors, the mentor–mentee relationship, incentives and evaluation mechanisms. Frequently, these elements are informal. Individuals in charge of implementing and maintaining mentoring initiatives can use the results of the study to consider their current mentoring policies, structures, and activities by comparing them to national patterns within CTSA institutions.
The goal of this research was to better understand the experiences and perspectives of mentors in a program designed to increase the number of American Indian students garnering PhDs. Challenges and benefits associated with mentoring undergraduates were identified through semistructured interviews.
Successfully recruiting students from underrepresented groups to pursue biomedical science research careers continues to be a challenge. Early exposure to scientific research is often cited as a powerful means to attract research scholars with the research mentor being critical in facilitating the development of an individual's science identity and career; however, most mentors in the biological sciences have had little formal training in working with research mentees. To better understand mentors’ experiences working with undergraduates in the laboratory, we conducted semistructured interviews with 15 research mentors at a public university in the Midwest. The interviewed mentors were part of a program designed to increase the number of American Indians pursuing biomedical/biobehavioral research careers and represented a broad array of perspectives, including equal representation of male and female mentors, mentors from underrepresented groups, mentors at different levels of their careers, and mentors from undergraduate and professional school departments. The mentors identified benefits and challenges in being an effective mentor. We also explored what the term underrepresented means to the mentors and discovered that most of the mentors had an incomplete understanding about how differences in culture could contribute to underrepresented students’ experience in the laboratory. Our interviews identify issues relevant to designing programs and courses focused on undergraduate student research.
Background and purposes
The education and training of early career biomedical translational researchers often involves formal mentoring by more experienced colleagues. This study investigated the nature of these mentoring relationships from the perspective of mentees. The objective was to understand the challenges and issues encountered by mentees in forming and maintaining productive mentoring relationships.
Three focus groups (n=14) were conducted with early career researchers who had mentored career development awards. Thematic analysis identified, categorized, and illustrated the challenges and issues reported by mentees.
The range of mentee challenges was reflected in five major categories: 1) network—finding appropriate mentors to meet various needs; 2) access—structuring schedules and opportunities to receive mentoring; 3) expectations—negotiating the mechanics of the mentoring relationship and its purpose; 4) alignment—managing mentor-mentee mismatches regarding interests, priorities, and goals; and 5) skills and supports—developing the institutional supports to be successful.
Mentoring relationships created for academic training and career development contend with tasks common to many other relationships, namely recognizing compatibility, finding time, establishing patterns, agreeing to goals, and achieving aims. Identifying challenges faced by mentees can facilitate the development of appropriate trainings and supports to foster mentoring relationships in academic and career settings.
MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS; MENTEE PERSPECTIVES; RESEARCH TRAINING; CAREER DEVELOPMENT
The goal of this paper is to present strategies utilized to support K scholar research mentors. K scholars are generally assistant professors who are close to developing independent research programs. Of all the various types of mentees, K scholars offer the greatest challenges, as well as the greatest rewards, for research mentors. To see one's mentee achieve independent PI status and become an established investigator is one of the great joys of being a research mentor. Research mentors for K scholars, however, may not directly benefit from their mentoring relationship, neither in terms of obtaining data to support their research program or laboratory, nor in assistance with grants or scientific papers. There is a pressing need for the research community to address the workload, institutional expectations and reward system for research mentors. The dearth of research mentors and role models in clinical translational science parallels the decreasing number of physicians choosing careers in clinical research. While there is limited empirical information on the effectiveness of mentor support mechanisms, this white paper concludes that providing mentor support is critical to expanding the available pool of mentors, as well as providing training opportunities for K scholars.
translational research; salary; protected time; resources
Good mentoring is a key variable for determining success in completing a doctoral program. We identified prevailing mentoring practices among doctoral students and their mentors, identified common challenges facing doctoral training, and proposed some solutions to enhance the quality of the doctoral training experience for both candidates and mentors at Makerere University College of Health Sciences (MakCHS).
This cross-sectional qualitative evaluation was part of the monitoring and evaluation program for doctoral training. All doctoral students and their mentors were invited for a half-day workshop through the MakCHS mailing list. Prevailing doctoral supervision and mentoring guidelines were summarised in a one-hour presentation. Participants were split into two homogenous students’ (mentees’) and mentors’ groups to discuss specific issues using a focus group discussion (FGD) guide, that highlighted four main themes in regard to the doctoral training experience; what was going well, what was not going well, proposed solutions to current challenges and perceived high priority areas for improvement. The two groups came together again and the note-takers from each group presented their data and discussions were recorded by a note-taker.
Twelve out of 36 invited mentors (33%) and 22 out of 40 invited mentees (55%) attended the workshop. Mentors and mentees noted increasing numbers of doctoral students and mentors, which provided opportunities for peer mentorship. Delays in procurement and research regulatory processes subsequently delayed students’ projects. Similarly, mentees mentioned challenges of limited; 1) infrastructure and mentors to support basic science research projects, 2) physical office space for doctoral students and their mentors, 3) skills in budgeting and finance management and 4) communication skills including conflict resolution. As solutions, the team proposed skills’ training, induction courses for doctoral students-mentor teams, and a Frequently Asked Questions’ document, to better inform mentors’, mentees’ expectations and experiences.
Systemic and infrastructural limitations affect the quality of the doctoral training experience at MaKCHS. Clinical and biomedical research infrastructure, in addition to training in research regulatory processes, procurement and finance management, communication skills and information technology, were highlighted as high priority areas for strategic interventions to improve mentoring within doctoral training of clinician scientists.
Mentorship; Doctoral training; Supervision; Capacity building; Health care; Low and middle income countries; Uganda
Increasingly, national programs and leaders are looking at interdisciplinary collaborations as essential to future research. Twelve years ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH) developed and implemented the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH) K12 program to focus on interdisciplinary mentored career development for junior faculty in women's health research.
We applied a mixed-methods approach using an electronic survey and in-person presentations and discussions to understand best practices and lessons learned for interdisciplinary mentoring across BIRCWH K12 program leaders.
Results and Conclusions
We received responses from all 29 active BIRCWH programs. Factors associated with success included ensuring sufficient protected time for regular (weekly or biweekly) mentoring; mentors promoting the research independence of the Scholar; a team mentoring approach, including career as well as content mentors; and explicit and clear expectations outlined between the Scholar and mentor. The majority of programs conduct formal evaluations of mentorship, and 79% of programs offer training in mentorship for either Scholars, mentors, or both. This article presents program leaders' best practices, challenges, and lessons learned from mentoring junior faculty who are conducting women's health research, whether basic, clinical, behavioral, translational, or health services research, using an interdisciplinary mentoring approach.
Although mentoring is acknowledged as a key to successful and satisfying careers in medicine, formal mentoring programs for medical students are lacking in most countries. Within the framework of planning a mentoring program for medical students at Zurich University, an investigation was carried out into what types of programs exist, what the objectives pursued by such programs are, and what effects are reported.
A PubMed literature search was conducted for 2000 - 2008 using the following keywords or their combinations: mentoring, mentoring program, medical student, mentor, mentee, protégé, mentorship. Although a total of 438 publications were identified, only 25 papers met the selection criteria for structured programs and student mentoring surveys.
The mentoring programs reported in 14 papers aim to provide career counseling, develop professionalism, increase students' interest in research, and support them in their personal growth. There are both one-to-one and group mentorships, established in the first two years of medical school and continuing through graduation. The personal student-faculty relationship is important in that it helps students to feel that they are benefiting from individual advice and encourages them to give more thought to their career choices. Other benefits are an increase in research productivity and improved medical school performance in general. Mentored students also rate their overall well-being as higher. - The 11 surveys address the requirements for being an effective mentor as well as a successful mentee. A mentor should empower and encourage the mentee, be a role model, build a professional network, and assist in the mentee's personal development. A mentee should set agendas, follow through, accept criticism, and be able to assess performance and the benefits derived from the mentoring relationship.
Mentoring is obviously an important career advancement tool for medical students. In Europe, more mentoring programs should be developed, but would need to be rigorously assessed based on evidence of their value in terms of both their impact on the career paths of juniors and their benefit for the mentors. Medical schools could then be monitored with respect to the provision of mentorships as a quality characteristic.
Mentorship is perceived to play a significant role in the career development and productivity of academic clinicians, but little is known about the characteristics of mentorship. This knowledge would be useful for those developing mentorship programs.
To complete a systematic review of the qualitative literature to explore and summarize the development, perceptions and experiences of the mentoring relationship in academic medicine.
Medline, PsycINFO, ERIC, Scopus and Current Contents databases from the earliest available date to December 2008.
We included studies that used qualitative research methodology to explore the meaning and characteristics of mentoring in academic medicine. Two investigators independently assessed articles for relevance and study quality, and extracted data using standardized forms. No restrictions were placed on the language of articles.
A total of 8,487 citations were identified, 114 full text articles were assessed, and 9 articles were selected for review. All studies were conducted in North America, and most focused on the initiation and cultivation phases of the mentoring relationship. Mentoring was described as a complex relationship based on mutual interests, both professional and personal. Mentees should take an active role in the formation and development of mentoring relationships. Good mentors should be sincere in their dealings with mentees, be able to listen actively and understand mentees' needs, and have a well-established position within the academic community. Some of the mentoring functions aim at the mentees’ academic growth and others at personal growth. Barriers to mentoring and dysfunctional mentoring can be related to personal factors, relational difficulties and structural/institutional barriers.
Successful mentoring requires commitment and interpersonal skills of the mentor and mentee, but also a facilitating environment at academic medicine's institutions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1165-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
mentoring; academic medicine; systematic review; qualitative research
The professional development of under-represented faculty may be enhanced by mentorship, but we understand very little about the mechanisms by which mentoring brings about change. Our study posed the research question, what are the mechanisms by which mentoring may support professional development in under-represented groups?
The study aims to: (i) to pilot a mentoring scheme for female academics; (ii) to compare various health-related and attitudinal measures in mentees at baseline, 6 months, and 1 year into the mentoring relationship and, (iii) to compare pre-mentoring expectations to outcomes at 6 months and 1 year follow-up for mentees and mentors.
Female academic mentees were matched 1:1 or 2:1 with more senior academic mentors. Online surveys were conducted to compare health-related and attitudinal measures and expectations of mentoring at baseline with outcomes at 6 months and 1 year using paired t-tests and McNemar's test for matched cohort data.
N = 46 mentoring pairs, 44 (96%) mentees completed the pre-mentoring survey, 37 (80%) at 6 months and 30 (65%) at 1 year. Job-related well-being (anxiety-contentment), self-esteem and self-efficacy all improved significantly and work-family conflict diminished at 1 year. Highest expectations were career progression (39; 89%), increased confidence (38; 87%), development of networking skills (33; 75%), better time-management (29; 66%) and better work-life balance (28; 64%). For mentees, expectations at baseline were higher than perceived achievements at 6 months or 1 year follow-up.
For mentors (N = 39), 36 (92%) completed the pre-mentoring survey, 32 (82%) at 6 months and 28 (72%) at 1 year. Mentors' highest expectations were of satisfaction in seeing people progress (26; 69%), seeing junior staff develop and grow (19; 53%), helping solve problems (18; 50%), helping women advance their careers (18; 50%) and helping remove career obstacles (13; 36%). Overall, gains at 6 months and 1 year exceeded pre-mentoring expectations.
This uncontrolled pilot study suggests that mentoring can improve aspects of job-related well-being, self-esteem and self-efficacy over 6 months, with further improvements seen after 1 year for female academics. Work-family conflict can also diminish. Despite these gains, mentees' prior expectations were shown to be unrealistically high, but mentors' expectations were exceeded.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars (RWJF NFS) program was developed to enhance the career trajectory of young nursing faculty and to train the next generation of nurse scholars. Although there are publications that describe the RWJF NFS, no evaluative reports have been published. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the first three cohorts (n = 42 scholars) of the RWJF NFS program.
A descriptive research design was used. Data were derived from quarterly and annual reports, and a questionnaire (seven open-ended questions) was administered via Survey Monkey Inc. (Palo Alto, CA, USA).
During their tenure, scholars had on average six to seven articles published, were teaching/mentoring at the graduate level (93%), and holding leadership positions at their academic institutions (100%). Eleven scholars (26%) achieved fellowship in the American Academy of Nursing, one of the highest nursing honors. The average ratings on a Likert scale of 1 (not at all supportive) to 10 (extremely supportive) of whether or not RWJF had helped scholars achieve their goals in teaching, service, research, and leadership were 7.7, 8.0, 9.4, and 9.5, respectively. The majority of scholars reported a positive, supportive relationship with their primary nursing and research mentors; although, several scholars noted challenges in connecting for meetings or telephone calls with their national nursing mentors.
These initial results of the RWJF NFS program highlight the success of the program in meeting its overall goal—preparing the next generation of nursing academic scholars for leadership in the profession.
Faculty development; Early career award; Mentoring
Little is known about the characteristics of mentoring relationships formed between faculty and medical students. Individual mentoring relationships of clinical medical students at Munich Medical School were characterized quantitatively and qualitatively.
All students signing up for the mentoring program responded to a questionnaire on their expectations (n = 534). Mentees were asked to give feedback after each of their one-on-one meetings (n = 203). A detailed analysis of the overall mentoring process and its characteristics was performed. For qualitative text analysis, free-text items were analyzed and categorized by two investigators. Quantitative analysis was performed using descriptive statistics and Wilcoxon-test to assess differences in grades between students with and without mentors.
High-performing students were significantly more likely to participate in the mentoring program (p<0.001). Topics primarily discussed include the mentee's personal goals (65.5%), career planning (59.6%), and experiences abroad (57.6%). Mentees mostly perceived their mentors as counselors (88.9%), providers of ideas (85.0%), and role models (73.3%). Mentees emphasized the positive impact of the mentoring relationship on career planning (77.2%) and research (75.0%).
Medical students with strong academic performance as defined by their grades are more likely to participate in formal mentoring programs. Mentoring relationships between faculty and medical students are perceived as a mutually satisfying and effective instrument for key issues in medical students’ professional development.
Mentoring relationships are a highly effective means of enhancing the bidirectional flow of information between faculty and medical students. A mentoring program can thus establish a feedback loop enabling the educational institution to swiftly identify and address issues of medical students.
mentoring; mentor; mentee; medical students; faculty; one-on-one mentoring
Despite increasing recognition that mentoring is essential early in medical careers, little is known about the prevalence of mentoring programs for medical students. We conducted this study to survey all medical schools in Germany regarding the prevalence of mentoring programs for medical students as well as the characteristics, goals and effectiveness of these programs.
A definition of mentoring was established and program inclusion criteria were determined based on a review of the literature. The literature defined mentoring as a steady, long-lasting relationship designed to promote the mentee's overall development. We developed a questionnaire to assess key characteristics of mentoring programs: the advocated mentoring model, the number of participating mentees and mentors, funding and staff, and characteristics of mentees and mentors (e.g., level of training). In addition, the survey characterized the mentee-mentor relationship regarding the frequency of meetings, forms of communication, incentives for mentors, the mode of matching mentors and mentees, and results of program evaluations. Furthermore, participants were asked to characterize the aims of their programs. The questionnaire consisted of 34 questions total, in multiple-choice (17), numeric (7) and free-text (10) format. This questionnaire was sent to deans and medical education faculty in Germany between June and September 2009. For numeric answers, mean, median, and standard deviation were determined. For free-text items, responses were coded into categories using qualitative free text analysis.
We received responses from all 36 medical schools in Germany. We found that 20 out of 36 medical schools in Germany offer 22 active mentoring programs with a median of 125 and a total of 5,843 medical students (6.9 - 7.4% of all German medical students) enrolled as mentees at the time of the survey. 14 out of 22 programs (63%) have been established within the last 2 years. Six programs (27%) offer mentoring in a one-on-one setting. 18 programs (82%) feature faculty physicians as mentors. Nine programs (41%) involve students as mentors in a peer-mentoring setting. The most commonly reported goals of the mentoring programs include: establishing the mentee's professional network (13 programs, 59%), enhancement of academic performance (11 programs, 50%) and counseling students in difficulties (10 programs, 45%).
Despite a clear upsurge of mentoring programs for German medical students over recent years, the overall availability of mentoring is still limited. The mentoring models and goals of the existing programs vary considerably. Outcome data from controlled studies are needed to compare the efficiency and effectiveness of different forms of mentoring for medical students.
Objective: To gain insight regarding the mentoring processes involving students enrolled in athletic training education programs and to create a mentoring model.
Design and Setting: We conducted a grounded theory study with students and mentors currently affiliated with 1 of 2 of the athletic training education programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Participants: Sixteen interviews were conducted, 13 with athletic training students and 3 with individuals identified as mentors. The students ranged in age from 20 to 24 years, with an average of 21.6 years. The mentors ranged from 24 to 38 years of age, with an average of 33.3 years. Participants were purposefully selected based on theoretic sampling and availability.
Data Analysis: The transcribed interviews were analyzed using open-, axial-, and selective-coding procedures. Member checks, peer debriefings, and triangulation were used to ensure trustworthiness.
Results: Students who acknowledged having a mentor overwhelmingly identified their clinical instructor in this role. The open-coding procedures produced 3 categories: (1) mentoring prerequisites, (2) interpersonal foundations, and (3) educational dimensions. Mentoring prerequisites included accessibility, approachability, and protégé initiative. Interpersonal foundations involved the mentor and protégé having congruent values, trust, and a personal relationship. The educational dimensions category involved the mentor facilitating knowledge and skill development, encouraging professional perspectives, and individualizing learning. Although a student-certified athletic trainer relationship can be grounded in either interpersonal or educational aspects, the data support the occurrence of an authentic mentoring relationship when the dimensions coalesced.
Conclusions: Potential mentors must not only be accessible but also approachable by a prospective protégé. Mentoring takes initiative on behalf of a student and the mentor. A mentoring relationship is complex and involves the coalescence of both interpersonal and educational aspects of an affiliation. As a professional-socialization tactic, mentoring offers students a way to anticipate the future professional role in a very personal and meaningful way.
mentor; protégé; anticipatory socialization; qualitative research
Career development award programs often require formal establishment of mentoring relationships. The authors sought to gain a nuanced understanding of mentoring from the perspective of a diverse national sample of faculty clinician-researchers who were all members of formal mentoring relationships.
Between February 2010 and August 2011, the authors conducted semi-structured, in-depth telephone interviews with 100 former recipients of National Institutes of Health mentored career development awards and 28 of their mentors. Purposive sampling ensured a diverse range of viewpoints. Multiple analysts thematically coded verbatim transcripts using qualitative data analysis software.
Three relevant themes emerged: (1) the numerous roles and behaviors associated with mentoring in academic medicine, (2) the improbability of finding a single person who can fulfill the diverse mentoring needs of another individual, and (3) the importance and composition of mentor networks. Many respondents described the need to cultivate more than one mentor. Several participants discussed the utilization of peer mentors, citing benefits such as pooled resources and mutual learning. Female participants generally acknowledged the importance of having at least one female mentor. Some observed that their portfolio of mentors needed to evolve in order to remain effective.
Those who seek to promote the careers of faculty in academic medicine should focus upon developing mentoring networks, rather than hierarchical mentoring dyads. The members of each faculty member's mentoring team or network should reflect the protégé's individual needs and preferences, with special attention towards ensuring diversity in terms of area of expertise, academic rank, and gender.
The University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Medical Sciences Campus (MSC) post-doctoral Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research (MSc) program aims to train Hispanic post-doctoral candidates to advance their careers and become successful clinical and translational researchers geared to help eliminate health disparities. Its curriculum highlights the use of technology and online resources to maximize time use of time and efforts. As part of the assessment efforts, the program’s Evaluation Committee leads an annual activity, Evaluation Retreat (ER), to evaluate the program’s curriculum, research component, and mentoring experience according to Scholars’ perspective. Results are used by the Program Executive committee for further planning and improvement. This analysis presents the most relevant results from these activities.
Data collection (from last 5 years), include quantitative (online surveys) and qualitative approaches (a group meeting with Scholars.) Questionnaires request Scholars to rate specific features of the program’s research component, mentoring experience and curriculum. It also includes questions about the program in general (major strengths and challenges, and recommendations for improvement. During the group meeting, Scholars discuss these results and present consensus in a plenary session. Quantitative data are managed and analyzed using the statistical software SPSS. Qualitative data are examined using content analysis.
Scholars identified as program’s strengths the networking opportunities (local and with U.S. experts), the diversity of peers and faculty, the faculty support, the technical and audiovisual support, the physical facilities and resources, the guest speakers and consultants, and the quality of the curriculum. Challenges vary as cohorts change, but time limitations and the need for technical/statistical support are always highlighted. Recommendations for improvement emphasize the need for a greater pool of experienced mentors, and more hands-on approaches to address particular skills such as, manuscript development, institutional and federal guidelines for proposal submission, and issues related to the research project management.
Evaluation Retreats provide a valuable input to improve a program geared to develop competent clinical researchers. Findings evidence the program’s commitment with providing the foundation for an enhanced mass of clinical researchers.
Assessment; research methods
The goal of this paper is to review the evaluation of mentors with a focus on training new investigators in clinical translational science. These scholars include physicians and PhD scientists who are generally assistant professors in clinical departments. This white paper is one of a series of articles focused on the programmatic elements of effective mentoring practices and the “current state of the art”. Evaluating mentor performance and providing formative feedback can lead to stronger mentoring and ultimately lead to increased success of new clinical and translational investigators. While there is general agreement that mentor evaluation can be helpful, the process is difficult. Trainees are reluctant to share negative experiences and to rate their mentors. Mentors are not sure they want to be evaluated. Program leaders are not sure how to effectively use the information. This white paper provides mentees, mentors and program leaders with new perspectives on mentor evaluation and ideas for future research.
evaluation; translational science; research training
Mentoring has been used extensively in the business world to enhance performance and maximise potential. Despite this, there is currently a paucity of literature describing mentoring for surgical trainees. This study examined the current extent of mentoring and investigated future needs to support this.
An electronic, 47-item, self-administered questionnaire survey was distributed via national and regional surgical mailing lists and websites through the Association of Surgeons in Training and Specialty Associations in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Overall, 565 fully completed responses were received from trainees in all specialties, grades and training regions. A total of 48.7 % of respondents reported that they have a surgical mentor, with no significant gender difference (p = 0.65). Of respondents, 52.5 % considered their educational supervisor and 45.5 % their current consultant as mentors. Modal duration of mentoring relationships was 1–2 years (24.4 %). A total of 90.2 % of mentors were in the same specialty, 60.7 % in the same hospital, and 88.7 % in the same training region. Mentors covered clinical and professional matters (99.3 %) versus pastoral and non-clinical matters (41.1 %). Mentoring was commonly face to face or via email and not documented (64.7 %). Of the 51.3 % without a mentor, 89.7 % would like a clinical mentor and 51.0 % a pastoral mentor (p < 0.001). Priority mentoring areas included career progression (94.9 %), research (75.2 %), clinical skills (66.9 %) and clinical confidence (58.4 %). A total of 94.3 % would be willing to act as a peer mentor. Only 8.7 % had received mentoring training; 83 % wish to undertake this.
Less than half of surgical trainees identified a mentor. The majority want mentoring on professional topics during their training and would additionally be willing to peer-mentor colleagues, although few have received training for this. Despite an identified need, there is currently no structure for organising this and little national provision for mentoring.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00268-014-2774-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Mentoring is a key predictor of empowerment and prospectively a game changer in the quest to improve health inequities. This systematic review reports on the state of evidence on mentoring for Indigenous Australians by identifying the quantity, nature, quality and characteristics of mentoring publications.
Thirteen databases were searched using specific search strings from 1983 - 2012. Grey literature was also canvassed. The resultant publications were mined to identify their outputs, nature, and quality. These were then conceptually mined for their characteristics to develop a model of mentoring that included the initiating environments, facilitating environments, operational strategies and outcomes.
771 citations were identified; 37 full text publications met inclusion criteria and were assessed. Fifteen were eligible for review. Four of five original research publications used strong qualitative research designs. No publications were found before 1999; the largest proportion concentrated in 2011 (n = 4). Facilitating environments included: mapping participants’ socio-cultural and economic context; formal mentoring practices with internal flexibility; voluntary participation; integrated models with wrap-around services; mentor/staff competencies; and sustained funding. Mentoring strategies comprised: holistic scaffolding approaches; respectful, trusting, one-on-one mentoring relationships; knowledgeable mentors; regular contact; longer-term relationships and exit strategies; culturally-tailored programs; personal and social development opportunities; and specialised skills and learning opportunities. Outcomes varied in accordance to program aims and included improvements in aspects of education and employment, offending behaviours, relationships, and personal, social and professional development.
Little research explored the effectiveness of mentoring, captured its impact qualitatively or quantitatively, developed appropriate measures or assessed its cost-effectiveness. There is a real need to evaluate programs particularly in terms of outcomes and, given there were no economic evaluations, costs. Commitments to improving Indigenous Australian mentoring rely on changes to funding structures and attitudes toward research. There was insufficient evidence to confidently prescribe a best practice model. Sufficient frequency of qualitative reporting between publications concluded that mentoring is a valuable empowerment strategy in the areas of health and wellbeing, education and employment and as a remedial and preventative measure in reducing offending behaviours. An evidence-informed mentoring model would take into account the key findings of the review.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders; Evidence; Indigenous Australians; Mentoring; Social determinants of health; Systematic review
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) presents challenges for self-management in many areas. A peer mentoring program may offer advantages over other forms of self-management interventions since youth may be more receptive to learning self-management skills from a peer than a parent or professional. The purpose of this study was to identify themes from focus groups to inform development of a peer mentoring program for improving self-management in pediatric IBD.
Focus groups were conducted for youth ages 12 – 17, stratified by age (3 groups; n=14), young adults ages 18 – 20 (1 group; n=5), and parents of the youth (3 groups; n=17). Broad questions covered program goals, general program characteristics, mentor/mentee characteristics and family involvement, and transcriptions were analyzed via directed content analysis, with the a priori codes specified as the broad questions above.
Participants identified the primary goals of a program as support, role model, information/education and fun. They described a program that would include a year-long, oneon-one mentor relationship with a peer who has had IBD for at least a year, educational group activities, fun activities that are not focused on IBD, expectations for in-person contact 1 – 2 times per month, and mentor-to-mentor and parent support.
Many of the suggestions from the focus groups correspond with research findings associated with successful mentoring programs. Using participants’ suggestions and empirically-based best practices for mentoring may result in an effective peer mentoring program for improving self-management in youth with IBD.
Self-management; mentoring; inflammatory bowel disease
Mentoring is critical for career advancement in academic medicine. However, underrepresented minority (URM) faculty often receive less mentoring than their nonminority peers. The authors conducted a comprehensive review of published mentoring programs designed for URM faculty to identify “promising practices.”
Databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, ERIC, PsychLit, Google Scholar, Dissertations Abstracts International, CINHAL, Sociological Abstracts) were searched for articles describing URM faculty mentoring programs. The RE-AIM framework (Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance) formed the model for analyzing programs.
The search identified 73 citations. Abstract reviews led to retrieval of 38 full-text articles for assessment; 18 articles describing 13 programs were selected for review. The reach of these programs ranged from 7 to 128 participants. Most evaluated programs on the basis of the number of grant applications and manuscripts produced or satisfaction with program content. Programs offered a variety of training experiences, and adoption was relatively high, with minor changes made for implementing the intended content. Barriers included time-restricted funding, inadequate evaluation due to few participants, significant time commitments required from mentors, and difficulty in addressing institutional challenges faced by URM faculty. Program sustainability was a concern because programs were supported through external funds, with minimal institutional support.
Mentoring is an important part of academic medicine, particularly for URM faculty who often experience unique career challenges. Despite this need, relatively few publications exist to document mentoring programs for this population. Institutionally supported mentoring programs for URM faculty are needed, along with detailed plans for program sustainability.
Multiple studies highlight the benefits of effective mentoring in academic medicine. Thus, we sought to quantify and characterize the mentoring practices at academic health centers (AHCs) with Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA). Here we report findings pertaining specifically to mentor training at the level of the KL2 mentored award program, and at the broader institutional level. We found only 4 AHCs did not provide any form of training. One-time orientation was most prevalent at the KL2 level, whereas formal face-to-face training was most prevalent at the institutional level. Despite differences in format usage, there was general consensus at both the KL2 and institutional level about the topics of focus of face-to-face training sessions. Lower-resource training formats utilized at the KL2 level may reveal a preference for preselection of qualified mentors, while institutional selection of resource-heavy formats may be an attempt to raise the mentoring qualifications of the academic community as a whole. The present work fits into the expanding landscape of academic mentoring literature and sets the framework for future longitudinal, outcome studies focused on identifying the most efficient strategies to develop effective mentors.
Mentoring as a knowledge translation (KT) intervention uses social influence among healthcare professionals to increase use of evidence in clinical practice.
To determine the effectiveness of mentoring as a KT intervention designed to increase healthcare professionals’ use of evidence in clinical practice.
A systematic review was conducted using electronic databases (i.e., MEDLINE, CINAHL), grey literature, and hand searching. Eligible studies evaluated mentoring of healthcare professionals responsible for patient care to enhance the uptake of evidence into practice. Mentoring is defined as (a) a mentor more experienced than mentee; (b) individualized support based on mentee's needs; and (c) involved in an interpersonal relationship as indicated by mutual benefit, engagement, and commitment. Two reviewers independently screened citations for eligibility, extracted data, and appraised quality of studies. Data were analyzed descriptively.
Of 10,669 citations from 1988 to 2012, 10 studies were eligible. Mentoring as a KT intervention was evaluated in Canada, USA, and Australia. Exposure to mentoring compared to no mentoring improved some behavioral outcomes (one study). Compared to controls or other multifaceted interventions, multifaceted interventions with mentoring improved practitioners’ knowledge (four of five studies), beliefs (four of six studies), and impact on organizational outcomes (three of four studies). There were mixed findings for changes in professionals’ behaviors and impact on practitioners’ and patients’ outcomes: some outcomes improved, while others showed no difference.
Linking Evidence to Action
Only one study evaluated the effectiveness of mentoring alone as a KT intervention and showed improvement in some behavioral outcomes. The other nine studies that evaluated the effectiveness of mentoring as part of a multifaceted intervention showed mixed findings, making it difficult to determine the added effect of mentoring. Further research is needed to identify effective mentoring as a KT intervention.
evidence-based practice; mentorship; outcome evaluation; professional issues/professional ethics/professional standards; advanced practice/advanced nursing practice; meta-analysis
A comprehensive mentoring program includes a variety of components. One of the most important is the ongoing assessment of and feedback to mentors. Scholars need strong active mentors who have the expertise, disposition, motivation, skills, and the ability to accept feedback and to adjust their mentoring style. Assessing the effectiveness of a given mentor is no easy task. Variability in learning needs and academic goals among scholars makes it difficult to develop a single evaluation instrument or a standardized procedure for evaluating mentors. Scholars, mentors, and program leaders are often reluctant to conduct formal evaluations, as there are no commonly accepted measures. The process of giving feedback is often difficult and there is limited empirical data on efficacy. This article presents a new and innovative six-component approach to mentor evaluation that includes the assessment of mentee training and empowerment, peer learning and mentor training, scholar advocacy, mentee–mentor expectations, mentor self-reflection, and mentee evaluation of their mentor.
mentors; evaluation; outcomes