Exploring Mentoring Experiences, Perceptions, and Needs of General Internal Medicine Clinician Educators Navigating Academia: a Mixed-Methods Study

Attila Nemeth, Alia Chisty, Carla L. Spagnoletti, Corrie A. Stankiewicz, Christopher Burant, Subha Ramani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Few studies examined specific mentoring needs and preferences of clinician educators (CEs). Further research on CEs’ perceptions of mentoring adequacy, as related to educational development and career advancement, is needed. Objective: The study aims were to (1) explore general internal medicine CEs’ experiences as mentees within various mentoring models; (2) examine the perceived quality, nature, and impact of mentoring on career development; and (3) determine whether specific models of mentoring impact their attitudes towards mentoring. Design: Sequential mixed methods study design answered the study questions. Participants: Society of General Internal Medicine members identifying themselves as CEs. Main measures/Approach: Participants completed an anonymous online survey and a subsample participated in two semi-structured focus group discussions. Outcomes of interest were perceptions of mentoring experiences, and perspectives on quality of mentoring as well as mentoring needs specific to clinician educators. Key Results: One hundred thirty-nine participants completed the survey (37% response rate) with 20 participants in focus group discussions. Among CEs with perceived high-quality mentor relationships (e.g., reporting strongly agree), peer mentorship was viewed as adequate mentorship (45% (n = 17) vs 24% (n = 24), p < 0.05), as beneficial for career development (77% (n = 40) vs 48% (n = 41), p < 0.01) and as being challenged to become a better CE (58% (n = 30) vs 35% (n = 29), p < 0.05), compared to reporting agree or lower. Qualitative analysis generated four themes: (1) A mentoring team promotes career advancement, (2) peer mentors are important at every stage of a CE’s career, (3) there is inadequate mentoring specific to CE needs, and (4) mentoring needs protected time and skill development. Conclusions: The traditional dyadic mentoring relationship may not adequately address all professional needs of CEs. A mentoring team can provide valuable perspectives on career goals. Peer mentoring can be powerful for professional growth. Mentoring needs change at different career stages and training in mentoring skills is essential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1236
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine


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