Investing in the Future: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Mentorship Networks for Residents

  • Omar Farooq Khan University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine
  • Alison Walzak University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine
  • Rahim Kachra University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine
  • Theresa J.B. Kline University of Calgary
  • Fiona M. Clement University of Calgary
  • Hude Quan University of Calgary
  • Aleem M. Bharwani University of Calgary
Keywords: Mentoring, Internship and Residency, Models, Educational, Organizational.


Background: Formal mentorship plays a key career development role in medicine. Traditional mentorship consists of dyadic relationships between mentors and their mentees. However, research favours utilization of mentorship networks involving individuals at multiple levels.

Objective: This study aimed to rigorously evaluate a formalized mentorship network program within a Canadian Internal Medicine residency program from 2012 to 2013.

Methods: Residents participated in one-on-one semi-structured interviews at baseline and after one year of participation in the mentorship network. Closed-ended surveys assessed affective organizational commitment, self-efficacy, career satisfaction and overall wellness among residents and faculty members. 89 residents and 28 faculty members were invited to participate; 40 residents and 18 faculty members completed the survey after one year.

Results: Residents perceived mentorship networks to add value across multiple domains, including self-awareness, overall efficiency, and physician wellness. Satisfaction with the program was very high, with 98% (n = 39/40) of residents and 89% of faculty members (n = 16/18) wanting the program to continue after year one. Male mentors were more likely to report benefits from serving as a mentor than their female counterparts. In contrast to this, female mentees found mentorship more useful than male mentees.

Conclusions: Network mentorship is associated with personal and system benefits, though these benefits are difficult to quantify. The network model is feasible and well-received by mentors and mentees. Further research considering both short- and long-term endpoints is required to delineate the true cost-benefit ratio of mentorship programs to both mentors and mentees.

Author Biographies

Omar Farooq Khan, University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine

Resident Physician (Medical Oncology), Department of Oncology

Alison Walzak, University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Rahim Kachra, University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Theresa J.B. Kline, University of Calgary
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology
Fiona M. Clement, University of Calgary
Associate Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences; Director of the Health Technology Assessment Unit, University of Calgary
Hude Quan, University of Calgary
Professor, Department of Community Health and Sciences
Aleem M. Bharwani, University of Calgary
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine


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How to Cite
Khan, O., Walzak, A., Kachra, R., Kline, T., Clement, F., Quan, H., & Bharwani, A. (2018). Investing in the Future: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Mentorship Networks for Residents. Canadian Journal of General Internal Medicine, 13(2).
Teaching and Learning