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Frontline Gastroenterol. 2019 Jan;10(1):50-55. doi: 10.1136/flgastro-2018-100971. Epub 2018 Aug 4.

Results of the British Society of Gastroenterology supporting women in gastroenterology mentoring scheme pilot.

Author information

Department of Gastroenterology, Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Yeovil, UK.
Joint Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education, Kingston University and St George's Hospital, London, UK.
Nottingham Digestive Diseases Centre, University Of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
Department of Gastroenterology, St. George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.
Academic Unit of Gastroenterology, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK.
Department of Medicine, North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK.
Wolfson Unit, St Mark's Hospital and Honorary Senior Lecturer Imperial College, London, UK.
Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Coventry, UK.
Department of Gastroenterology, Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.



Mentorship has long been recognised as beneficial in the business world and has more recently been endorsed by medical and academic professional bodies. Recruitment of women into gastroenterology and leadership roles has traditionally been difficult. The Supporting Women in Gastroenterology network developed this pilot scheme for female gastroenterologists 5 years either side of the Completion Certificate of Specialist Training (CCST) to examine the role that mentorship could play in improving this discrepancy.


Female gastroenterology trainees and consultant gastroenterologists within 5 years either side of CCST were invited to participate as mentees. Consultant gastroenterologists of both genders were invited to become mentors. 35 pairs of mentor:mentees were matched and completed the scheme over 1 year. Training was provided.


The majority of the mentees found the sessions useful (82%) and enjoyable (77%), with the benefit of having time and space to discuss professional or personal challenges with a gastroenterologist who is not a colleague. In the longitudinal study of job satisfaction, work engagement, burnout, resilience, self-efficacy, self-compassion and work-life balance, burnout scale showed a small but non significant improvement over the year (probably an effect of small sample size). Personal accomplishment improved significantly. The main challenges were geography, available time to meet and pair matching. The majority of mentors surveyed found the scheme effective, satisfying, mutually beneficial (70%) and enjoyable (78%).


Mentorship is shown to be beneficial despite the challenges and is likely to improve the recruitment and retention of women into gastroenterology and leadership roles, but is likely to benefit gastroenterologists of both genders.


health service research; quality of life

[Available on 2020-01-01]

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: CE is on the Advisory Board for MSD, Ferring & Abbvie; research grant from Takeda 2017.

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