Why Mentoring

For the mentee

In today's complex and often highly competitive world of academic medicine, having a mentor or a team of mentors can mean the difference between success and failure. A recent systematic review of mentoring in academic medicine suggests that mentorship can have an important influence on personal development, career guidance, career choice and research productivity, including publication and grant success [1].

  • Mentoring can help to ensure success in a wide variety of situations, including addressing questions such as:
    • how to ask the right research question
    • how to best design a new experiment
    • how to develop a clinical or educational program
    • how to find needed resources
  • By serving in the role of guide, coach, or ally, mentors can answer a mentee's questions as they arise, ensuring steady progress and completion of project milestones.
  • By serving in the role of advocate, a mentor can help a mentee navigate the terrain of academia in order to move forward professionally.
  • By providing knowledgeable and strategic advice, a mentor can serve to empower a junior faculty member, postdoc, or fellow to pursue an innovative opportunity. The interest and support of a mentor often provide the mentee with both the confidence and practical knowledge to undertake a new and exciting challenge.

For the mentor

Mentoring provides the mentor with numerous benefits:

  • Mentoring can enhance his or her own personal and professional knowledge while teaching and learning from the mentee.
  • By providing guidance, support, advice, strategic feedback, and other insights to a mentee, the mentor can learn and enhance leadership skills.
  • Mentees often bring a fresh perspective to a difficult problem, and serving as a mentor can provide a renewed sense of purpose in meeting the challenges of leading an educational endeavor, clinical initiative or research program.
  • While working with a mentee, the mentor also has the opportunity to gain a new talented colleague - one with whom the mentor may collaborate for years to come. Importantly, a mentor is provided with a sense of satisfaction in contributing to a legacy of developing the next generation of creative faculty.

This section adapted with permission from the Institute for Clinical Research Education Mentoring Resources, University of Pittsburgh. Learn more about PITT ICRE Mentoring.

[1] Sambunjak D, Strauss SE, Marusie A. Mentoring in academic medicine: a systematic review. JAMA 2006; 296: 1103-1115.