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What Mentors Tell Us About Acknowledging Effort and Sustaining Academic Research Mentoring

A Qualitative Study

Mancuso, Carol A., MD; Berman, Jessica R., MD; Robbins, Laura, DSW; Paget, Stephen A., MD

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions: January 2019 - Volume 39 - Issue 1 - p 29–35
doi: 10.1097/CEH.0000000000000234
Original Research
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Introduction: Continuing education is necessary to foster new and effective research mentoring skills. We asked faculty about their research mentoring practices and what would support their skills and abilities as ongoing and effective research mentors.

Methods: Twenty-two experienced mentors were interviewed and asked about perceived areas for improvement, and challenges and facilitators to continued research mentoring. Responses were analyzed with qualitative techniques using semistructured interviews, grounded theory, and a constant comparative analytic strategy.

Results: The average time since the completion of the doctoral degree was 26 years. Twenty-one participants believed that more comprehensive institutional acknowledgment for their efforts would enhance research mentoring. This specifically included acknowledging their time spent and service (ie, effort) in multiple in-person and behind-the-scenes tasks. These research mentoring efforts were largely viewed as overlooked by the traditional focus on the achievement of tangible outcomes. Participants thought that a formal plan to organize research mentoring (such as a mentor's charter, and continuing education tailored to both novice and experienced research mentors) was needed to promote evolution of skills and documentation of time and service. Possible methods to support research mentors were suggested and included financial support for travel to national meetings, assistance in developing new projects, and consideration of mentoring activities in the process for academic promotion.

Discussion: Research mentors wanted their achievements, time spent, and service (ie, effort) to be acknowledged by the institution. A formal written mentoring charter and corresponding continuing education could facilitate acknowledging achievements, time, and service and thus help to sustain academic research mentoring.

Dr. Mancuso: Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY and a Senior Scientist, Research Division, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY.

Dr. Berman: Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, and Co-Director, Academy of Medical Educators, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY.

Dr. Robbins: Associate Scientist, Research Division, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, and Senior Vice President, Global & Academic Affairs, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY.

Dr. Paget: Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, Physician-in-Chief Emeritus, Division of Rheumatology, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, and the Director, Academy of Medical Educators, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY.

Correspondence: Carol A. Mancuso, MD, Hospital for Special Surgery, 535 East 70th Street, New York, NY 10021; e-mail: mancusoc@hss.edu.

Supported by an internal award from the Hospital for Special Surgery Academy of Medical Educators.

Disclosures: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2019 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
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