Why mentoring is important

Mentoring is a critical piece for the success of faculty in academic medicine. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, mentoring is associated with job satisfaction, productivity, retention, and increased sense of "fit" with one's institution.1

The opportunity to mentor faculty is a tremendous gift and responsibility. Mentors support and grow the next generation of academic medical professionals. Mentoring, first and foremost, is a relationship between mentor and mentee that sets expectations and goals, and invests time that will reward all participants.

1 Dandar VM, Corrice AM, Bunton SA, Fox S. Why Mentoring Matters: A Review of Literature on the Impact of Faculty Mentoring in Academic Medicine and Research–based Recommendations for Developing Effective Mentoring Programs. Poster presented at the 2011 First International Conference on Faculty Development in the Health Professions in Toronto, Canada.

"The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves."

- Steven Spielberg

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Choosing a mentoring team

Mentors can offer a variety of things crucial to faculty at all stages of their careers including information and knowledge, encouragement and support, access to their professional networks, and sponsorship. Because mentors may not do all of these things equally well, it is recommended that faculty build a mentor team of several individuals that can offer domain specific knowledge (i.e. getting a grant) as well as overall career development support and opportunities for advancement.

Factors that can increase the benefits of mentorship include:

  • Choosing a mentor carefully with advisement from others
  • Being specific about the domains of mentorship a mentor can provide and the mentee needs
  • Meeting with mentors at regular intervals
  • Having a mentorship contract that outlines the goals for the mentor relationship*
  • Regular evaluation of both the mentor and mentee
  • Use of the MCG Faculty Academic Development Plan to ensure mentoring is consistent with career objectives and goals approved by the mentee's department supervisor

A mentoring team can include include formal and informal mentors, individuals within and outside of the institution, and peer mentors. Consider individuals who can best help meet specific and more general career development needs, such as:

  • Career guidance and feedback
  • Project specific guidance
  • Professional development skills
  • Role models
  • Emotional support
  • Work/life balance
  • Access to opportunities

Attributes of Effective Mentoring

comments icon  Open communication and accessibility

bullseye icon  Goals and challenges

heart icon  Passion and inspiration

share-alt icon  Caring personal relationship

users icon  Mutual respect and trust

book icon  Exchange of knowledge

connectdevelop icon  Independence and collaboration

Medical mentor and mentee

Benefits of Faculty Mentoring

Most people become faculty mentors as they advance in their career because it is an opportunity to share with developing faculty their skills, resources, and the career/life lessons accumulated during their career. Mentoring also can build leadership and supervisory skills, reinvigorate a career, reinforce and expand professional networks, and increase job satisfaction.

Documenting Faculty Mentoring Contributions

Another benefit of mentoring is that it can be used as part of a faculty member’s promotion and tenure packet provided that the mentoring contributions and outcomes are appropriately documented.

For faculty mentoring research, consider mentee metrics like faculty would use to demonstrate their own productivity including:

  • Number of peer-reviewed presentations and publications (including number of first and senior authored publications)
  • Number of grants applied for and received
  • Publication citations, journal impact factor, and alt-metrics (see https://www.altmetric.com/ for examples)
  • Whether a mentee was promoted or granted tenure

Additionally, for faculty mentoring clinician-educator activities, documenting mentee metrics such as:

  • Innovative clinical and teaching contributions to the institution
  • RVUs
  • Teaching and educational scholarship
  • Teaching awards
  • Leadership roles in clinical and educator domains at the institutional, state, regional, and national level
  • Peer, student, and supervisor evaluations of their work
  • Whether the mentee was promoted

Finally, evaluation of mentorship is a best practice in mentoring, the results of which can be included in promotion and tenure packets as well. Less structured evaluation would be letters from mentees, documenting mentor strengths and contributions to mentee development. Formal evaluation would include using a survey instrument on a regular basis to document mentor effectiveness.

Faculty who want to grow their mentorship skills and develop an individual mentor development plan, can contact the Office for Faculty Success and request a mentor consultation.


Mentor Videos

What should I consider when putting my mentorship team together?

How to get a mentor

Mentors: the good, the bad, the better

The difference between mentoring & sponsorship

 

 


Resources