Effective Research Mentorship for Residents: Meeting the Needs of Early Career Physicians

Acad Psychiatry. 2017 Jun;41(3):326-332. doi: 10.1007/s40596-016-0625-9. Epub 2016 Oct 20.


Objective: Challenges in pursuing research during residency may contribute to the shortage of clinician-scientists. Although the importance of mentorship in facilitating academic research careers has been described, little is understood about early career research mentorship for residents. The aim of this study was to better understand the mentorship process in the context of psychiatry residency.

Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with experienced faculty mentors in a psychiatry department at a large academic medical center. Interviews were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results from faculty interviews identified several key themes that were explored with an additional sample of resident mentees.

Results: Five themes emerged in our study: (1) being compatible: shared interests, methods, and working styles; (2) understanding level of development and research career goals in the context of residency training; (3) establishing a shared sense of expectations about time commitment, research skills, and autonomy; (4) residents' identity as a researcher; and (5) the diverse needs of a resident mentee. There was considerable congruence between mentor and mentee responses.

Conclusions: There is an opportunity to improve research mentoring practice by providing guidance to both mentors and mentees that facilitates a more structured approach to the mentorship relationship.

Keywords: Clinician-scientist; Research mentorship; Research track; Residency training.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomedical Research*
  • Career Choice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Mentors*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Psychiatry / education*