Answer to "What are key factors for implementation of a mentoring programme?"


Topic Editor: Erik Driessen

The successful implementation of mentoring programmes in medical schools, hospitals, or research institutes hinges on a number of conditions that have to be met (Driessen & Overeem, 2013):

  • Identifying barriers. Before developing a new mentoring programme, programme designers should identify potential barriers and determine ways of dealing with them.

  • Realistic expectations. According to Garmel et al. (2004), mentoring is inherently susceptible to the pitfall of unrealistic expectations on the part of both mentors and mentees. This pitfall can be circumvented by inviting members of different groups of stakeholders to sit on a committee charged with defining the objectives of the mentoring programme and explaining these to mentors and mentees

  • Selection and training of mentors. Johnson et al. (2010) describe the following essential components of mentor training: defining the mentor team concept, the related roles and expectations, the rewards and challenges of mentoring, effective communication with mentees, work–life balance, and understanding the effects of diversity among mentees. Additionally, training might cover components relating to specific mentoring goals, such as research support, career success, and performance improvement.

  • Incentives for mentors. A major obstacle to successful implementation of mentoring is the lack of incentives in the form of time and money, and also academic recognition. To motivate people to become and remain mentors, various incentives can be used: these include institutional recognition, career advancement, awards and protected time.


Driessen E, Overeem K (2013) Mentoring. In Walsh K. (Ed) Oxford Textbook of Medical Education. London: Oxford University Press p265-284.

Garmel G (2004) Mentoring medical students in academic emergency medicine. Acad Emerg Med, 11:1351–1357

Johnson M, Subak L, Brown, J, Lee K, and Feldman M (2010). An Innovative program to train health sciences researchers to be effective clinical and translational research mentors. Acad Med, 85:484–489