Enhancing Faculty Mentoring of Medical Students


Karen Seal, Sunita Mutha

Nov. 03, 2009

Background: Mentors are important in the personal and professional development of medical students. Little is known about how the structure of a mentoring program impacts on student‐faculty relationships.

Description: To evaluate and compare 2 structurally different mentoring programs at Stanford University School of Medicine, students and faculty were surveyed to rate and characterize aspects of the student‐mentor relationship and rate overall satisfaction with the program.

Evaluation: More than 90% of respondents were satisfied with the new mentor program compared with 24% of those in the preceptor program. Students in the new program rated discussions as significantly more useful than those in the preceptor program. In selecting a mentor, faculty's clinical and research interests were more important criteria than gender or race. Students emphasized the need for more clinically‐oriented mentors.

Conclusions: Programs that allow students to select mentors based on shared personal and professional interests lead to greater satisfaction and potentially more effective mentoring.