Jun 8, 2018 | Original Research
Evaluating the role of physician mentorship among undergraduate medical students
Lazar Milovanovic, BASc, MD; Jason Martin, MD; Sriharsha Athreya, MS, MRCS, FRCR
Background: Mentorship is a key factor for a successful academic medical career, earlier career choices, and increased research productivity. This study characterized the prevalence and medical student perception of physician-medical student mentorships. It also aimed to provide guidance for physicians on finding, mentoring and inspiring young medical minds.
Methods: A 23-question survey was sent electronically to medical students at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. Questions examined the initiation, duration, and productivity of mentorship relationships, and the characteristics of mentors and mentees. Population data was collated and analyzed. Fill-in responses were manually tabulated.
Results: Of 629 medical students, 244 (38.7%) responded. Mentors were largely academic (63.89%) and in the students’ field of interest (53.85%). Mentored students exhibited no difference in years of education, age or intention to pursue specialty training, compared non-mentored students. Mentored students had more intent to pursue an academic practice (p<0.05), and less intent to pursue community practice (p<0.05). Research publications (13.33%), presentations (18.89%) and establishing connections in a field of interest (57.78%) were identified as productivity arising from mentorship.
Conclusion: Mentorship enhances career planning, research productivity and education. Mentored students express more intent in practicing academic medicine. Medical schools may benefit from programs that pair students with clinical mentors. Communication, respect, and genuine interest form the foundation for a good mentorship.