Answer to "What models of mentoring are popular in medical education?"


Topic Editor: Sylvia Heeneman 

An overview of literature suggests some variations in the mentoring models that are used in the different phases of medical education.


In undergraduate medical education, more often formal mentoring programmes are used (see question 3), and a choice is made for either the one-to-one format (with a mentor guiding more mentees at the same time) or a combination of one-to-one and group / peer-mentoring (Frei et al. 2010, Buddeberg-Fischer et al. 2006, Tan et al. 2018).


In residency training, a number of papers indicated that ~45-65% of residents have a mentor, both informal and formal pairing is used and there is a tendency that residents have more than one mentor (Dhami et al., 2015, Oladeji et al. 2018, Sinclair et al. 2015).


For medical faculty, the traditional dyad, in a one-to-one mentor-mentee relationship, was used most (Kashiwagi et al. 2013). For academic surgeons, it was shown that pairing was either informal (22%), formal (25%) or provided by the division chief (15%), while 22% of faculty did not have a mentor (Kibbe et al. 2016).


(Note that we did not perform a comprehensive review, the answer is based on the reviews or papers under resources)



Buddeberg-Fischer B,Hertal K (2006). Formal mentoring programmes for medical students and doctors – a review of the Medline literature. Med Teach, 28:3, 248-257

Dhami G, Gao W, Gensheimer M, Trsiter A, Kane G, Zeng J (2016). Mentorship Programs in Radiation Oncology Residency Training Programs: A Critical Unmet Need. Int J Radiation Oncol Biol Phys, 94, 27-30

Frei E, Stamm M, Buddeberg-Fischer B (2010). Mentoring programs for medical students - a review of the PubMed literature 2000 – 2008. BMC Med Educ, 10:32: 1-14

Oladeji L, Ponce B, Worley J, Keeney J. Mentorship in Orthopedics: A National Survey of Orthopedic Surgery Residents (2018). J Surg Educ, in press

Kashiwagi D, Varkey P, Cook D (2013). Mentoring Programs for Physicians in Academic Medicine: A Systematic Review. Acad Med, 88:1029–1037.

Kibbe M, Pellegrini C, Townsend C, Helenowski I, Patti M (2016). Characterization of Mentorship Programs in Departments of Surgery in the United States. JAMA Surg , 151:900-906

Sambunjak D, Straus SE and Marusic A (2016). Mentoring in academic medicine: a systematic review. JAMA, 296: 1103-1115.

Sinclair P, Fitzgerald J, Hornby S, Shalhoub J. Mentorship in Surgical Training: Current Status and A Needs Assessment for Future Mentoring Programs in Surgery (2015). World J Surg 39:303-13.

Tan Y, Teo S, Pei Y, Sng J, Yap H, Toh Y, Krishna L (2018). A framework for mentoring of medical students: thematic analysis of mentoring programmes between 2000 and 2015. Adv Health Sc Educ, in press.