Mentorship in academic general internal medicine. Results of a survey of mentors

J Gen Intern Med. 2005 Nov;20(11):1014-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2005.215.x.


Background: Effective mentorship is crucial to career development. Strategies to improve the availability of mentors include mentoring multiple mentees at once, compensating mentors, comentoring, and long-distance mentoring.

Objective: To describe current trends in mentorship in general Internal Medicine (GIM).

Methods: We conducted a national cross-sectional web-based survey of GIM mentors, GIM fellowship directors, and GIM National Institutes of Health K24 grant awardees to capture their experiences with mentoring, including compensation for mentorship, multiple mentees, comentorship, and long-distance mentorship. We compared experiences by mentorship funding status, faculty type, academic rank, and sex.

Results: We collected data from 111 mentors (77% male, 54% full professors, and 68% clinician-investigators). Fifty-two (47%) received funding for mentorship. Mentors supervised a median (25th percentile, 75th percentile) of 5 (3, 8) mentees each, and would be willing to supervise a maximum of 6 (4, 10) mentees at once. Compared with mentors without funding, mentors with funding had more current mentees (mean of 8.3 vs 5.1, respectively; P<.001). Full professors had more current mentees than associate or assistant professors (8.0 vs 5.9 vs 2.4, respectively; P=.005). Ninety-four (85%) mentors had experience comentoring, and two-thirds of mentors had experience mentoring from a distance. Although most mentors found long-distance mentoring to be less demanding, most also said it is less effective for the mentee and is personally less fulfilling.

Conclusions: Mentors in GIM appear to be close to their mentorship capacity, and the majority lack funding for mentorship. Comentoring and long-distance mentoring are common.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education*
  • Internet
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Male
  • Mentors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Training Support / economics
  • United States