Formalizing the Informal: Lessons Learned from a Competency-Based Mentorship Program for Residents in Psychiatry

Acad Psychiatry. 2020 Oct 20. doi: 10.1007/s40596-020-01330-w. Online ahead of print.


Objective: CanMEDS competencies have been established and guide residency education in Canada, yet their inclusion in a formalized mentorship program for competency-based medical education (CBME) has yet to be explored.

Methods: A mixed methods study was conducted to investigate the perceptions of residents and faculty members in psychiatry who participated in a formalized CBME mentorship program. The authors conducted secondary analysis of intake survey data from program participants and collected semi-structured interview data. Chi-square analysis of survey data determined associations between participant demographics and perceptions of mentorship. Thematic analysis techniques were used to analyze interview data. Finally, survey and interview data were triangulated and transformed into broad themes.

Results: Survey data from 46 residents and 41 faculty members and semi-structured interview data from 8 residents and 6 faculty members were analyzed. Data analysis revealed support for the informal use of the CanMEDS roles framework in a mentoring context. Factors that influenced participant satisfaction with the program included mentor qualities, the mentor-mentee pairing strategy, informality of mentoring sessions, and the presence of administrators and other program coordinators to maintain and support the program.

Conclusions: The perceptions of participants in this study suggest that formal mentorship programs can be beneficial for residents, in terms of enhancing clinical competencies, advancing overall well-being, ensuring preparedness to undertake professional careers, and the provision of essential psychosocial support. Future work is needed to assess the implementation of formal mentorship programs in other residency training programs.

Keywords: Career development; Mentorship; Psychosocial support; Residency education.