, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 340-345

Mentoring matters

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PURPOSE: Mentoring during the early stages of a career has been associated with high career satisfaction and may guide development of professional expertise. Little is known about mentoring experiences during residency training. Our purpose was to describe mentoring relationships among internal medicine residents, and to examine the relationship between mentoring and perceived career preparation.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: We designed and administered a mailed survey to all interns and residents enrolled in the five independent Internal Medicine Residency Training Programs affiliated with Harvard Medical School. We examined the development of mentoring relationships during residency training, and measured satisfaction with mentoring and with perceived career preparation.

RESULTS: Of the 329 respondents (65% response rate), 93% reported that it is important to have a mentor during residency, but only half identified a current or past mentor. Interns [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.3 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.2, 0.5)] and underrepresented minority residents [0.3 (0.1, 0.7)] were significantly less likely to establish a mentoring relationship than their peers. Mentored residents were nearly twice as likely to describe excellent career preparation [1.8 (1.3, 3.1)].

CONCLUSION: Our findings demonstrate the importance of mentoring to medical residents, and identify a relationship between mentoring and perceived career preparation. We also identify a relative lack of mentoring among interns and underrepresented minority residents.