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

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Omar Farooq Khan
Alison Walzak
Rahim Kachra
Theresa J.B. Kline
Fiona M. Clement
Hude Quan
Aleem M. Bharwani


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.
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