Background: In health profession education, learners are often coached by mentors for development of competencies, self-direction of learning and professionalism. It is important that the mentee-mentor relationship is aligned in terms of mutual expectations.
Methods: A dual-purpose questionnaire capturing both the mentor and mentee perceptions on the actual and preferred mentoring functions was designed and validated, by performing a principal component analysis (PCA) using the data of mentees (n = 103) and mentors (n = 23) of a medical course. As a proof of concept, alignment of needs and changes in the mentoring perceptions in mentee groups of different years were determined.
Results: PCA showed that specific sets of questions addressed important elements in the mentoring process, such as self-direction of learning and reflection (Scale 1), guidance of behavioural change (Scale 4), addressing personal issues and professional identity development (Scale 3 and 5) and how the mentor and mentee presents oneself in the mentoring relationship (Scale 2). Mentors and mentees perceived comparable situations as critical for an effective mentoring process, such as mentor presence and guidance of reflection, although there was also evidence of gaps, such as perception of cultural issues. By comparison of the mentee groups in the different years of the program, the dynamic or evolving nature of the mentor process became evident, mentees experienced more emphasis by the mentor on reflection (Scale 1), at a constant level of mentor presence (Scale 2).
Conclusion: Given the individualized, context-specific, and dynamic nature of mentoring, programmes would benefit from a regular evaluation of mentoring practices, e.g. by using questionnaires, in order to facilitate organizational revisions and further development of the mentoring competencies.
- Mentor-student relationship
- Needs assessment