Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 389–401 | Cite as

The core of mentorship: medical students' experiences of one-to-one mentoring in a clinical environment

Article

Abstract

Mentoring has been used in different health care educational programmes, but the core of mentorship, i.e., facilitating the development of medical students' professional competence, has not been explored in depth in the literature. In order to create effective and meaningful mentoring programmes, there is a need for deeper knowledge of the meaning of formal mentorship and, for this, the students’ experiences are important. A mentoring program was set up where all medical students were offered a mentor during their first clinical courses; years 3–4. The mentors were physicians and their role as mentors was to support the students and act as sounding-boards, not to teach or assess knowledge. This study aimed to get a deeper understanding of the meaning of mentorship seen from the perspective of undergraduate medical students. A qualitative approach with individual interviews (N = 12) and inductive content analysis was chosen to investigate and interpret the meaning of mentorship. The results comprise three overarching themes: Space, Belief in the future and Transition. Having a mentor gave a sense of security and constituted a ‘free zone’ alongside the undergraduate programme. It gave hope about the future and increased motivation. The students were introduced to a new community and began to identify themselves as doctors. We would argue that one-to-one mentoring can create conditions for medical students to start to develop some parts of the professional competences that are more elusive in medical education programmes, such as reflective capacity, emotional competence and the feeling of belonging to a community.

Keywords

Medical students Mentorship Professional competence Professional development Socialisation Support Transition 

References

  1. Ali, P. A., & Panther, W. (2008). Professional development and the role of mentorship. Nursing Standard, 22, 35–39.Google Scholar
  2. Allen, V. L., & Vlert, E. V. D. (1984). Role transitions. Explorations and explanations. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bazeley, P. (2007). Qualitative data analysis with NVivo. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Berk, R. A., Berg, J., Mortimer, R., Walton-Moss, B., & Yeo, T. P. (2005). Measuring the effectiveness of faculty mentoring relationships. Academic Medicine, 80, 66–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bligh, J. (1999, January). Mentoring: An invisible support network. Medical Education, 33(1), 2–3.Google Scholar
  6. Boud, D., Keogh, R., & Walker, D. (1985). Reflection: Turning experience into learning. London: Kogan Page.Google Scholar
  7. Boud, D., & Walker, D. (1998). Promoting reflection in professional courses: The challenge of context. Studies in Higher Education, 23, 191–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education. Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  9. Bray, L., & Nettleton, P. (2007). Assessor or mentor? Role confusion in professional education. Nurse Education Today, 27, 848–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buddeberg-Fischer, B., & Herta, K. D. (2006). Formal mentoring programmes for medical students and doctors–a review of the Medline literature. Medical Teacher, 28, 248–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Christopher, D. F., Harte, K., & George, C. F. (2002). The implementation of tomorrow’s doctors. Medical Education, 36, 282–288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cruess, R. L., & Cruess, S. R. (2006). Teaching professionalism: General principles. Medical Teacher, 28, 205–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cruess, S. R., Johnston, S., & Cruess, R. L. (2004). “Profession”: A working definition for medical educators. Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 16, 74–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dahlin, M., Joneborg, N., & Runeson, B. (2005). Stress and depression among medical students: A cross-sectional study. Medical Education, 39, 594–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duchscher, J. B. (2008). A process of becoming: The stages of new nursing graduate professional role transition. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 39, 441–450 (quiz 451–452, 480).Google Scholar
  16. Epstein, R. M., & Hundert, E. M. (2002). Defining and assessing professional competence. Journal of the American Medical Association, 287, 226–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Forslund, K. (1995). Professionell kompetens. Fyra essäer om inlärning och utveckling för professionalitet. Linköping, Sweden: Linköping University.Google Scholar
  18. Graneheim, U. H., & Lundman, B. (2004). Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: Concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse Education Today, 24, 105–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gross, E. (1958). Work and society. Binghamton, NY, USA: Vail-Ballou Press, Inc.Google Scholar
  20. Hylin, U., Kalén, S., Larm, M. F., Ponzer, S., Bonnevier, A., Hindbeck, H., et al. (2009). Samläk, Sammanhållen klinisk läkarutbildning vid KI SÖS, Projektrapport 2009. Stockholm, Sweden: Karolinska Institutet.Google Scholar
  21. Jagsi, R., Tarbell, N. J., & Weinstein, D. F. (2007). Becoming a doctor, starting a family–leaves of absence from graduate medical education. New England Journal of Medicine, 357, 1889–1891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kalen, S., Stenfors-Hayes, T., Hylin, U., Larm, M. F., Hindbeck, H., & Ponzer, S. (2010). Mentoring medical students during clinical courses: A way to enhance professional development. Medical Teacher, 32, e315–e321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kalet, A., Krackov, S., & Rey, M. (2002). Mentoring for a new era. Academic Medicine, 77, 1171–1172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li, L. C., Grimshaw, J. M., Nielsen, C., Judd, M., Coyte, P. C., & Graham, I. D. (2009). Evolution of Wenger’s concept of community of practice. Implement Science, 4, 11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mann, K., Gordon, J., & Macleod, A. (2009). Reflection and reflective practice in health professions education: A systematic review. Advances in Health Sciences Education: Theory and Practice, 14, 595–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Markakis, K. M., Beckman, H. B., Suchman, A. L., & Frankel, R. M. (2000). The path to professionalism: Cultivating humanistic values and attitudes in residency training. Academic Medicine, 75, 141–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nettleton, P., & Bray, L. (2008). Current mentorship schemes might be doing our students a disservice. Nurse Education in Practice, 8, 205–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods. London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  29. Pitney, W. A., & Ehlers, G. G. (2004). A Grounded theory study of the mentoring process involved with undergraduate athletic training students. Journal of Athletic Training, 39, 344–351.Google Scholar
  30. Sambunjak, D., Straus, S. E., & Marusic, A. (2006). Mentoring in academic medicine: A systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Association, 296, 1103–1115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stenfors-Hayes, T., Kalen, S., Hult, H., Dahlgren, L. O., Hindbeck, H., & Ponzer, S. (2010). Being a mentor for undergraduate medical students enhances personal and professional development. Medical Teacher, 32, 148–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Suen, L. K., & Chow, F. L. (2001). Students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of mentors in an undergraduate nursing programme in Hong Kong. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 36, 505–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Swanwick, T. (2010). Understanding medical education—evidence, theory and practice. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. The CanMEDS Framework (2005). CanMEDS. Retrieved 15 October, 2010, from http://www.par-program.org/CanMEDS2005Framework.pdf.
  35. Tomorrow's Doctors. (2003). Recommendations on undergraduate education. General Medical Council, UK. Retrieved 15 October, 2010, from http://www.gmc-uk.org/static/documents/content/TomorrowsDoctors_2003.pdf.
  36. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice. Learning, meaning, and identity. New York, USA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Woessner, R., Honold, M., Stehr, S. N., & Steudel, W. I. (2000). Support and faculty mentoring programmes for medical students in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Medical Education, 34, 480–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Yusoff, M. S., Rahim, A. F., Noor, A. R., Yaacob, N. A., & Hussin, Z. A. (2009). The BigSib students’ peer group mentoring programme. Medical Education, 43, 1106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Science and Education, SödersjukhusetKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and EthicsKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations