Gender differences in the ability to identify a mentor at morning report: a multi-institutional survey

Teach Learn Med. Fall 2002;14(4):236-9. doi: 10.1207/S15328015TLM1404_6.


Background: Prior studies have shown that mentors are very important for career development of physicians, and that many female physicians have not had a mentor during their training. However, little is known about the availability of mentors for residents.

Purpose: To identify resident and program characteristics that were associated with the ability to identify a potential mentor at resident morning report.

Method: We performed a cross-sectional survey of 356 internal medicine residents at a convenience sample of 13 residency programs. The instrument included questions about demographic characteristics, subspecialty fellowship plans, and ability to identify a potential mentor at morning report during the previous 6 months.

Results: Seventy-three percent were able to identify a potential mentor at morning report within the previous 6 months (63% of women vs. 79% of men). Among residents planning on entering general internal medicine, women were less likely than men to be able to identify a potential mentor (55% vs. 77%). The likelihood of identifying a mentor varied between the different programs, with a range from 27% to 89%.

Conclusion: Many residents could identify a potential mentor at morning report, although there was a wide variability between programs. Female residents who were going into general internal medicine were less likely than their male colleagues to find a potential mentor. Medical educators should ensure that all residents have exposure to potential generalist mentors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Mentors / classification*
  • Mentors / psychology
  • Sex Factors