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Med Teach. 2005 Dec;27(8):732-4.

Medical students' perceptions of mentoring: a focus-group analysis.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 94143-0131, USA.


Characteristics of medical students' mentoring relationships and factors that affect mentoring during medical school are poorly understood. The authors conducted four focus groups with fourth-year medical students to explore what students sought from mentors, perceived barriers to mentoring and suggestions for improvement. Data were analyzed using grounded theory. Students with and without mentors described a mentoring relationship as a personal connection with a faculty member invested in helping the student achieve a personal and professional vision. The short duration of courses, abrupt change from classroom learning to clerkships and limited exposure to clinicians were perceived as barriers to mentoring. Students recommended that the school explicitly promote mentoring with early education about finding mentors, placing the responsibility on students while also expanding the pool of potential mentors. It is concluded that medical students characterize mentoring in terms of the interpersonal dynamics of the relationship, emphasizing personal connection and advocacy. Educating and empowering students along with faculty education regarding students' needs may improve mentoring.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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