Mentoring of medical students: a cross-sectional study

Mark Daniel Wilson, Renee Jacques, Patrick James Fiddes, Claire Elizabeth Palermo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Mentoring has proven of value in personal and professional development. There is little useful data on mentoring and its outcomes in relation to medical students. This study aimed to evaluate a mentoring program for medical students in the second year (first full clinical year) of a four-year graduate-entry medical degree, administered at an Australian clinical training school. Methods: All 22 medical students in their second year (first full clinical year) and twelve senior medical staff mentors, who voluntarily elected to be mentors, participated in the mentoring program. An anonymous questionnaire was distributed to mentees and mentors, examining demographics, previous mentoring relationships, qualities of good mentors and mentees and barriers to developing a successful mentoring relationship. Results: The results showed the most important attributes of a mentoring relationship were the mentor having a non-threatening manner and being a good listener and role model. Mentees need to be able to recognise the value of life-long learning, have capacity for self-appraisal, be amenable to personal and professional development and have a willingness to reflect. Lack of time and challenging schedules were barriers to mentoring. The voluntary nature of the relationship, ability to speak freely without fear of reprisal, minimal rules in relation to timing, structure and outcomes and confidentiality were described as the most important characteristics. Conclusion: The findings suggest mentoring of medical students initiated by a clinical training school, and led by the needs of the parties involved, facilitates personal and professional development. Mentoring should be considered a core component of medical school curricula.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44 - 54
Number of pages11
JournalFocus on Health Professional Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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