Research Mentorship

The University of Washington Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Research Division is committed to assisting research faculty identify mentors and in providing tools that can improve mentorship relationships. Some of these tools can be found in the link below. In addition, resources specific to becoming a successful mentee and a successful mentor are provided.

Ideal research mentorship relationships are founded on mutual career interests; matched gender, similar race/ethnicity, similar age; and personal chemistry. All research mentorship relationships are most apt to flourish when the mentor and mentee have established rules of engagement, checklists, partnership agreements, structured meetings with open and honest expectations and feedback, and every 6-12 months individual development plan reviews. These 5 elements of strong mentorship relationships are the foundation of building a successful mentorship relationships.

Building a Successful Research Mentorship Relationship
Building a Successful Research Mentorship Relationship

Mentees

Successful mentees consider the following questions:Mentee
  • Are my objectives clear and well defined?
  • Are my objectives quantifiable, i.e. how will my mentor and I measure success?
  • Do I have an action plan and what are my outcomes?
  • What is my timeline and is it realistic?
  • Will I need additional mentors or resources beyond this mentorship relationship?
  • Am I comfortable asking for what I want?
  • Am I open to hearing new ideas and perspectives?
  • Do I allow myself to be open and vulnerable?
  • Am I receptive to constructive feedback?
  • Am I able to show I value and appreciate feedback?
  • Am I willing to change or modify my behaviors?
  • Do I consistently follow through on commitments?
  • Do I make an effort to instill trust?
  • Do I openly show appreciation and gratitude?
  • The mentoring mindset of a protégé is...

Mentors

Successful mentors are competent (have professional knowledge and expereicne, are respected, and have excellent interpersonal skills have good judgement); have confidence (share network contacts and resources, allow protégé to develop her/his own terms, demonstrates initative, takes risks, shares credit) and are committed (invest time, energy and effort and shares personal experience when appropriate). Successful mentors should have no more than 3 mentees at any one time.

Being a good mentor - DOsMentorship Malpractice
  • Respond to communications within 48 hours
  • Give first, second, last authorship
  • Find passion/ “spark” in each person
  • Always have their back
  • Help mentees recognize deficiencies and directions to correct
  • Get to know your mentees, connect
  • Constantly ask about their purpose
  • Inspire innovation and creativity
  • Provide opportunities
  • Teach and model perseverance

 

References

Choi AMK, Moon JE, Steinecke A, Prescott JE. Developing a Culture of Mentorship to Strengthen Academic Medical Centers. Acad Med. 2019 May;94(5):630-633. DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000002498

Chopra V, Edelson DP, Saint S. Mentorship Malpractice. JAMA. 2016;315(14):1453–1454. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2015.18884

McBurney EI. Strategic mentoring: growth for mentor and mentee. Clin Dermatol. 2015 Mar-Apr;33(2):257-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2014.12.019

Straus SE, Johnson MO, Marquez C, Feldman MD. Characteristics of successful and failed mentoring relationships: a qualitative study across two academic health centers. Acad Med. 2013 Jan;88(1):82-9. DOI: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31827647a0

UCSF Faculty Mentoring Toolkit

Vaughn V, Saint S, Chopra V. Mentee Missteps: Tales From the Academic Trenches. JAMA. 2017;317(5):475–476. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2016.12384