Continuous mentoring of medical students provides space for reflection and awareness of their own development

Susanne Kalén1, Sari Ponzer1, Astrid Seeberger2, Anna Kiessling3 and Charlotte Silén4

1Department of Clinical Science and Education, Södersjukhuset, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

2Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

3Department of Clinical Sciences, Danderyd Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

4Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Submitted: 01/08/2012; Accepted: 21/11/2012; Published: 09/12/2012

Int J Med Educ. 2012; 3:236-244; doi: 10.5116/ijme.50ad.328c

© 2012 Susanne Kalén et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: The aim of the study was to increase under-standing of the meaning of continuous group and individual mentoring for medical students´ personal and professional development.

Methods: A qualitative approach with individual student interviews and directed content analysis was chosen to investigate and interpret the meaning of mentorship.

Results: Five themes emerged: psychosocial support by the mentor, a relationship with a physician beneath the professional surface, space for something else, awareness of one´s own development and reflection and learning with peers. The mentorship created a space where one could talk about 'the other things'. The relationship with the mentor was more personal than relations to teachers or supervisors. During the group sessions the students could reflect and learn in interaction with others. Recurrent reflection about oneself and one´s competences led to awareness of one's own development.

Conclusions: Combined group and individual mentoring creates space for reflection on the humanistic aspects of the professional role. A mentoring relationship can be supportive and personal without frequent meetings and knowing one another well. Continuity in mentorship helps students to reflect on and recognise their own professional development.