Charting a Professional Course: A Review of Mentorship in Medicine

Authors: Ann Marie McKenna, MD, Sharon E. Straus, MD, MSc

Developing physicians require firm knowledge of the clinical science and technical procedures within their specialties, a knowledge base founded in residency and supplemented throughout training. However, the day-to-day practice of medicine demands the skillful balance of various leadership, administrative, educational, and research roles, and expertise that cannot be obtained from a textbook. This professional curriculum is increasingly being sought through mentorship, a relationship between a junior physician and an experienced advisor or mentor. The authors review the current literature for mentorship in medicine, including characteristics of successful mentors and their mentees, and the emerging role of formal institution-wide mentorship programs.