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Longitudinal mentorship to support the development of medical students’ future professional role: a qualitative study

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      Abstract

      Background

      Mentoring has been employed in medical education in recent years, but there is extensive variation in the published literature concerning the goals of mentoring and the role of the mentor. Therefore, there is still a need for a deeper understanding of the meaning of mentoring for medical students’ learning and development. The aim of this qualitative study is to explore how formal and longitudinal mentoring can contribute to medical students’ professional development.

      Methods

      Sixteen medical students at a Swedish university were interviewed individually about their experiences of combined group and one-to-one mentoring that is given throughout their studies. The mentoring programme was focused on the non-medical skills of the profession and used CanMEDS roles of a physician for students’ self-assessment. Data were analysed using a latent, interpretive approach to content analysis.

      Results

      The results comprise three themes: Integrating oneself with one’s future role as a physician, Experiencing clinical reality with the mentor creates incentives to learn and Towards understanding the professional competence of a physician. The mentorship enabled the students to create a view of their future professional role and to integrate it with their own personalities. The students’ understanding of professional competence and behaviour evolved during the mentorship and they made advances towards understanding the wholeness of the profession. This approach to mentorship supported different components of the students’ professional development; the themes Integrating oneself with one’s future role and Towards understanding the professional competence of a physician can be regarded as two parallel processes, while the third theme, Experiencing clinical reality with the mentor creates incentives to learn, promotes these processes.

      Conclusions

      Formalized and longitudinal mentoring focusing on the non-medical skills can be recommended to help medical students to integrate their professional role with themselves as individuals and promote understanding of professional competence in the process of becoming a physician.

      Related collections

      Most cited references 34

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      Three approaches to qualitative content analysis.

      Content analysis is a widely used qualitative research technique. Rather than being a single method, current applications of content analysis show three distinct approaches: conventional, directed, or summative. All three approaches are used to interpret meaning from the content of text data and, hence, adhere to the naturalistic paradigm. The major differences among the approaches are coding schemes, origins of codes, and threats to trustworthiness. In conventional content analysis, coding categories are derived directly from the text data. With a directed approach, analysis starts with a theory or relevant research findings as guidance for initial codes. A summative content analysis involves counting and comparisons, usually of keywords or content, followed by the interpretation of the underlying context. The authors delineate analytic procedures specific to each approach and techniques addressing trustworthiness with hypothetical examples drawn from the area of end-of-life care.
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        Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness.

        Qualitative content analysis as described in published literature shows conflicting opinions and unsolved issues regarding meaning and use of concepts, procedures and interpretation. This paper provides an overview of important concepts (manifest and latent content, unit of analysis, meaning unit, condensation, abstraction, content area, code, category and theme) related to qualitative content analysis; illustrates the use of concepts related to the research procedure; and proposes measures to achieve trustworthiness (credibility, dependability and transferability) throughout the steps of the research procedure. Interpretation in qualitative content analysis is discussed in light of Watzlawick et al.'s [Pragmatics of Human Communication. A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies and Paradoxes. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, London] theory of communication.
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          Qualitative Research & Evaluations Methods

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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [ ]Department of Clinical Science and Education, Karolinska Institutet, Södersjukhuset, SE-118 83 Stockholm, Sweden
            [ ]Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
            [ ]Department of Clinical Sciences, Danderyd Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
            [ ]Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
            Contributors
            +46 8 123 14629 , susanne.kalen@ki.se
            sari.ponzer@ki.se
            astrid.seeberger@ki.se
            anna.kiessling@ki.se
            charlotte.silen@ki.se
            Journal
            BMC Med Educ
            BMC Med Educ
            BMC Medical Education
            BioMed Central (London )
            1472-6920
            3 June 2015
            3 June 2015
            2015
            : 15
            26037407
            4458053
            383
            10.1186/s12909-015-0383-5
            © Kalén et al. 2015

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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            © The Author(s) 2015
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