"A good career choice for women": Female medical students' mentoring experiences: A multi-institutional qualitative study

Rachel B. Levine, Hilit F. Mechaber, Shalini T. Reddy, Danelle Cayea, Rebecca Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PURPOSE: The career decisions, practice patterns, and approach to patient care of current female students, who make up close to 50% of medical school classes, will have a profound impact on the profession. This study explores the role gender plays in the mentoring experiences of female medical students. METHOD: In 2011, the authors conducted focus groups with 48 third- and fourth-year female medical students at four U.S. medical schools. Using a template organizing style, they derived themes in an iterative process to explore female medical students' mentoring relationships and the impact of gender on those relationships. RESULTS: The authors identified four major themes: (1) Optimal mentoring relationships are highly relational. Students emphasized shared values, trust, and a personal connection in describing ideal mentoring relationships. (2) Relational mentoring is more important than gender concordance. Students identified a desire for access to female mentors but stated that when a mentor and mentee developed a personal connection, the gender of the mentor was less important. (3) Gender-based assumptions and stereotypes affect mentoring relationships. Students described gender-based assumptions and expectations for themselves and their mentors. (4) Gender-based power dynamics influence students' thinking about mentoring. Students stated that they were concerned about how their mentors might perceive their professional decisions because of their gender, which influenced what they disclosed to male mentors and mentors in positions of power. CONCLUSIONS: Gender appears to play a role in female medical students' expectations and experience with mentoring relationships and may influence their decision making around career planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-534
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume88
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

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Career Choice
Medical Students
mentoring
Mentors
medical student
career
gender
Students
experience
student
Medical Schools
career planning
school class
Mentoring
female student
gender role
patient care
Focus Groups
stereotype
profession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Education

Cite this

"A good career choice for women" : Female medical students' mentoring experiences: A multi-institutional qualitative study. / Levine, Rachel B.; Mechaber, Hilit F.; Reddy, Shalini T.; Cayea, Danelle; Harrison, Rebecca.

In: Academic Medicine, Vol. 88, No. 4, 04.2013, p. 527-534.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Levine, Rachel B. ; Mechaber, Hilit F. ; Reddy, Shalini T. ; Cayea, Danelle ; Harrison, Rebecca. / "A good career choice for women" : Female medical students' mentoring experiences: A multi-institutional qualitative study. In: Academic Medicine. 2013 ; Vol. 88, No. 4. pp. 527-534.
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