To assess the association between mentorship and both subsequent research productivity and career development among primary care research fellows.
In 1998, using a self-administered questionnaire, the authors surveyed 215 fellows who graduated from 25 National Research Service Award (NRSA) primary care research programs between 1988-1997 to assess quantitative aspects and qualitative domains of their mentorship experience during fellowship training.
A total of 139 fellows (65%) responded to mentorship questions a median of four years after their fellowship. Thirty-seven fellows (26.6%) did not have an influential mentor, 42 (30.2%) reported influential but not sustained mentorship, and 60 (43.2%) had influential and sustained mentorship. Individuals with influential mentorship spent more time conducting research (p =.007), published more papers (p =.003), were more likely to be the principal investigator on a grant (p =.008), and more often provided research mentorship to others (72.5% versus 66.7% of those with unsustained mentorship, and 36.4% of those with no influential mentor, p =.008). After controlling for other predictors, influential and sustained mentorship remained an important determinant of career development in research. On qualitative analysis, fellows identified three important domains of mentorship: the relationship between mentor and fellow (such as guidance and support), professional attributes of the mentor (such as reputation), and personal attributes of the mentor (such as availability and caring).
Influential and sustained mentorship enhances the research activity of primary care fellows. Research training programs should develop and support their mentors to ensure that they assume this critical role.
"Furthermore, we hope that mentees will use the tangible steps outlined in the road map (figure 4) to navigate their research learning experiences to maximum advantage. Productive two-way mentoring relationships are associated with increased productivity and retention of both mentors and mentees in the science pipeline (Maughan 2001, Steiner et al. 2004, Lopatto 2007, Desai et al. 2008). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe Group-Advantaged Training of Research (GATOR), a yearlong structured program at the University of Florida that guided graduate student mentors and their undergraduate mentees through the mentored research process. Using the national Survey of Undergraduate Research Experiences for an academic year, we found that outcomes for our mentees were similar to those for other programs. We also used an internal survey, combined with qualitative observations, to develop a road map of the mentoring process, which we call the “Metamorphosis of Mentorship.” This model provides tangible steps on the road to becoming a scientist, incorporates reasons mentees stall in research, and suggests ways to overcome mentoring challenges and prevent attrition. The structure and outcomes of this program will be useful to researchers and administrators working to engage undergraduates in scientific research, particularly at large universities where undergraduates are often mentored by graduate students.
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