Purpose: To study the effect of a peer mentoring group (PMG).
Method: Six junior clinician educator faculty and one senior faculty at the University of Washington Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry formed a PMG in 2006. The PMG had 30 meetings during 2006–2010. Group format, goals, and meeting agendas were determined solely by participants. Feedback about positive and negative outcomes of participation in the PMG was determined by open-ended response to three sets of questions; qualitative analysis was performed by an outside research consultant.
Results: Program evaluation revealed benefits and undesirable or unintended outcomes. Reported benefits were increased workplace satisfaction; improved social connection; increased professional productivity and personal growth/development through accountability, collaboration, mutual learning, support, and information sharing; synergy, collaboration, and diversity of thought; increased involvement in professional activities; opportunity for peer discussions in a safe environment; and increased accountability and motivation. Undesirable or unintentional outcomes were exclusivity, lack of hierarchy, scheduling of meetings, absence of an intentional curriculum, diverse and competing interests, personal–professional enmeshment, and occasional loss of focus due to overemphasis on personal matters. Every member of the PMG was retained, and scholarly productivity increased, as did collaboration with other group members.
Conclusions: Participants in this PMG experienced qualitative benefits and perceived advantages in career advancement and scholarly productivity. Negative consequences did not deter participation in the PMG or outweigh benefits. The self-sufficient and low-cost structure makes it particularly portable.