Gender and Mentoring in Medicine

Mentoring is an often quoted path for career success in medicine and other careers alike and there are some studies that corraborate this idea. A study by Stamm and Buddenberg-Fischer investigates this notion in the field of medicine using a Swiss sample.

In their longitudinal study they examined the influence of mentoring during specialist training and found that, indeed, having a mentor and receiving psychosocial support from a mentor during this time was related to higher career success both in objective measures such as such as academic advancements and subjective measures, as well as career satisfaction. Receiving career support from a mentor on the other hand was related to subjective and objective career success, but not to career satisfaction. With regards to gender, about  60% of men but only about 41% of women reported having a mentor during their specialist training. The authors argue that these issues could and should be resolved by formal mentoring programs. Interestingly, however, their study indicates that gender of the mentor might not be as relevant. Women and men in their study did not differ with regards to the preferred gender of their mentor.