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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 67-71  

Introducing mentoring to 1st-year medical students of a private medical college in North India: A pilot study

1 Department of Biochemistry, Sri Guru Ram Das University of Health Sciences, Amritsar, Punjab, India
2 Department of Biochemistry, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Medical College, Vacoas-Phoenix, Mauritius
3 Department of Pediatrics, Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Punjab, India

Date of Submission10-May-2017
Date of Acceptance14-Oct-2017
Date of Web Publication20-Dec-2017

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sahiba Kukreja
Department of Biochemistry, Sri Guru Ram Das University of Health Sciences, Amritsar, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijabmr.IJABMR_160_17

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Background: The stress of complex medical course, emotional immaturity, and adaptations to new surroundings are the challenges faced by the new medical entrants. Therefore, mentorship program was introduced to support them for their academic and personal development. Aim and Objectives: The aim of this study is to introduce and to assess the perception of mentors and mentees on mentorship program. Materials and Methods: A mentorship program was designed for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) First Professional students. A 1-day workshop was conducted to sensitize the faculty. Seventeen faculty members from various departments volunteered to be mentors. After sensitization, 150 MBBS First Professional students were divided among these faculty members by lottery system. A regular visit of mentees was scheduled with the mentor. At the end of mentorship program, the perception of mentors and mentees was taken using a validated and semi-structured feedback questionnaire. A focus group discussion of students was also conducted. Results: A total of 112 students and 16 faculty members completed the feedback questionnaire. The mentors considered this program helpful in their self-improvement, teaching, and communication skills. Most of the mentees felt that this program helped them emotionally and academically. It was a good way to develop a strong student–teacher relationship. All the mentors and mentees were satisfied with the mentorship program. Conclusions: The newly introduced mentorship program helped in the overall development of mentors and mentees. Both mentors and mentees were extremely satisfied with this program and considered this as a successful intervention.

Keywords: Medical students, mentee, mentor, mentorship program

How to cite this article:
Kukreja S, Chhabra N, Kaur A, Arora R, Singh T. Introducing mentoring to 1st-year medical students of a private medical college in North India: A pilot study. Int J App Basic Med Res 2017;7, Suppl S1:67-71

How to cite this URL:
Kukreja S, Chhabra N, Kaur A, Arora R, Singh T. Introducing mentoring to 1st-year medical students of a private medical college in North India: A pilot study. Int J App Basic Med Res [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Jan 21];7, Suppl S1:67-71. Available from: https://www.ijabmr.org/text.asp?2017/7/5/67/221306

   Introduction Top

Effective academic and psychological support is one of the pivotal factors that contribute to the students' success in pursuing higher professional degree programs.[1] Mentoring program in medical schools exist to provide support to students and guidance that contribute to a fulfilling undergraduate medical experience.[2] This program facilitates the students in academic pursuit and provides them a way to cope up with the difficulties faced in new environment.[3] The benefits of mentoring may be seen in three major domains of the institution: the mentees, the mentors, and the medical school community. The benefits offered by this program to mentees are related to their career development; it enlightens their interest in research and inspires them to improve their academic performance. It further helps them emotionally and reduces their stress by improving their relationship with the mentors. The mentors are also benefitted as this program provides a sense of internal satisfaction, improves their teaching skills, and thus helps in personal development. In addition, the medical school community is also benefitted, as it improves clinical care, research as well as teaching.[4] Therefore, this study was designed to introduce and assess the perception of mentees and mentors regarding mentorship program.

   Materials and Methods Top

The project was carried out with the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) first professional students. The Principal, senior faculty of various departments, members of curriculum committee, and medical education unit (MEU) were sensitized by organizing a 1-day workshop on mentorship program. Feedback questionnaire was taken after the workshop. After much deliberation, the mentorship program was developed by the members of MEU Seventeen faculty members from clinical, pre-, and paraclinical departments volunteered to be a part of this program. One hundred and fifty 1st year students were divided among 17 faculty members by lottery system. The mentees mentor meetings were compulsory visits which were held twice a month. Some mentees also contacted their mentors with contexts other than regular mentor meetings. The log books were maintained and there was a periodic review meeting of the mentors every 15 days with the coordinator of MEU and the Principal. Various issues were discussed in the meeting, and the solutions were also offered.

Questionnaire development

The feedback questionnaires of both mentors and mentees were constructed by reviewing the literature with more emphasis on the areas of mentorship program. The questions were reviewed and revised through a series of collaborative discussions among the authors. There were both open-ended as well as closed-ended questions, which were validated by members of MEU and by external sources.

Collection of feedback

After 6 months of introduction of mentorship program, the questionnaire-based feedback was collected from the mentees and mentors. The feedback based on focus group discussion (FGD) was also collected from 12 mentees, who were selected using random number generator of SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 17.0 (Chicago: SPSS Inc.).

Statistical analysis

The data was statistically analyzed using SPSS software version 17.0. The outcome of the program was assessed by validated semi-structured questionnaires which were collected from both the mentors and mentees. Cronbach's alpha coefficient test was used to assess the validity and reliability of the questionnaire collected from the mentees. The value of Cronbach's alpha was 0.86, thus, representing that the questionnaire was good in content. The mean and the standard deviation of the data was analyzed statistically. The median scores for individual items of the questionnaire were also calculated. Descriptive analysis was done for qualitative data.

   Output and Results Top

Mentorship program was introduced in 1st-year MBBS students. Out of 150First Professional MBBS students of either sex who participated in the mentorship program, 112 undertook the feedback questionnaire. The remaining students were absent on the day of collection of the feedback form [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3].
Table 1: Mean response of closed-ended questions given by mentees

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Table 2: Perception of mentees on mentorship program – closed-ended questions (n=112)

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Table 3: Perception of mentees on mentorship program – open-ended questions (n=112)

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Out of the 17 faculty members who volunteered to be a part of mentorship program, 16 faculty members completed the feedback questionnaire. One faculty was on long leave, and therefore, was not able to complete the form [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6].
Table 4: Mean response of closed-ended questions given by mentors

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Table 5: Perception of mentors on mentorship program – closed-ended questions (n=16)

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Table 6: Perception of mentors on mentorship program – open-ended questions (n=16)

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Two sessions of FGD were carried out involving 6 students in each session, 14 items were identified [Table 7].
Table 7: Items identified through content analysis of focus group discussion

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   Discussion Top

Mentoring is an ancient notion that dates to Greek mythology. First-year medical students come from a secure environment of the school with less number of students in each class, having spent time with the students of the same social and cultural backgrounds. When they enter a medical college, they get lost in the crowd with too many students in the same class coming from different backgrounds; these students face stress of complex medical course, peer pressure, and emotional immaturity. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to intervene and introduce mentorship program to this vulnerable group.[5]

This study tried to introduce mentorship program in 1st year and assess the perception of the mentees and mentors on this program. The findings suggest that the mentees felt supported in terms of their personal development and were also motivated to improve their academic performance. This finding was in accordance to the study by Kalén et al.[6] who reported that having a mentor was a positive experience for most students in terms of both professional and personal development.

Majority of mentors and the mentees reported that mentorship program improved the communication between them, which helped the mentees to discuss their problems with the mentors in a nonthreatening environment, similar findings were reported by Usmani et al.[7] who reported that mentees and mentors became friendlier which allows mentees to discuss their issues easily.

Mentors reported that this program gave them a feeling of self-satisfaction; they also could improve their teaching methods due to the feedback they were receiving from their mentees. They also stated that they could understand the problems faced by the students; this helped them to develop more empathy for the students. Similar findings were reported by Arati Bhatia et al.[3] who stated that mentors become aware of the students' problems and were able to empathize better.

In focused group discussion, one mentee stated that “my mentor is like second mother to me,” some stated that their mentor helped them to overcome their inferiority complex, thus the mentors were providing them with emotional support. This program helped in building up a healthier teacher–student relationship.

The limitations of the present study were that the mentorship program could not be introduced at the start of the session; therefore, the students wanted to have mentors of their choice and they were uncomfortable with mentors of the higher classes. Furthermore, we could not get a dedicated time slot for mentorship program in the timetable, so both mentors and mentees had difficulty in setting up the meetings.

To conclude, the mentorship program was introduced in 1st-year MBBS students. Teaching skill of mentors improved through this program, and this program helped to build up a better student–teacher relationship. An empathetic point of view was developed in mentors regarding the problems faced by the mentees. This program paved the path for peer mentoring in the future so that the new batches would acclimatize to the new environment. Both the mentors and mentees were satisfied with the mentorship program.


I acknowledge the guidance and help provided by Dr. Richa Ghay Thaman and Director Principal of the Institute. I am also thankful to my department and members of the medical education unit without whom this project would not have been possible.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Vogan CL, McKimm J, Da Silva AL, Grant A. Twelve tips for providing effective student support in undergraduate medical education. Med Teach 2014;36:480-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
Zerzan JT, Hess R, Schur E, Phillip RS, Rigotti N. Making the most of mentors: A guide for mentees. Acad Med 2009;84:140-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
Bhatia A, Singh N, Dhaliwal U. Mentoring for the first year medical students: humanising medical education. Indian J Med Ethics 2013;10:100-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
Fornari A, Murray TS, Menzin AW, Woo VA, Clifton M, Lombardi M, et al. Mentoring program design and implementation in new medical schools. Med Educ Online 2014;19:24570.  Back to cited text no. 4
Singh T, Modi JN. Mentoring in medical colleges: Bringing out the best in people. Int J User Driven Healthc 2013;3:112-21.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kalén S, Stenfors-Hayes T, Hylin U, Larm MF, Hindbeck H, Ponzer S, et al. Mentoring medical students during clinical courses: A way to enhance professional development. Med Teach 2010;32:e315-21.  Back to cited text no. 6
Usmani A, Omaeer Q, Sultan ST. Mentoring undergraduate medical students: Experience from Bahria University Karachi. J Pak Med Assoc 2011;61:790-4.  Back to cited text no. 7


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7]

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