Mentees as their own facilitators: Qualities of successful mentees were being proactive, efficient, engaged, committed, focused and accountable, as well as respectful of the mentor’s time. The importance of accountability was also stressed, with many mentors having little desire to mentor without it. Additionally, mentees expressed a desire for additional training on how to be a good mentee, including how to manage the relationship, to be prepared for meetings and to develop after-action plans.
Key roles of mentors are to promote, encourage and support the mentee, as well as address day-to-day research questions. Attributes of successful mentors were identified as availability and the ability to provide honest bidirectional feedback. “Mentors ideally help shape the research goals and guide the mentee’s career trajectory,” write the authors. “Shaping the long-term path was felt to be a key mentor role. Influencing the career trajectory is realized by helping the mentee organize and prioritize research plans.”
Additionally, participants noted the importance of building a network of internal and external mentors, career sponsors, peer mentors and collaborators, each aiding the mentee on different aspects of their career. “Ideally, an individual’s network should include mentors from different institutions, different career stages and/or different disciplines. Remote and interdisciplinary mentors can eventually become collaborators,” write the authors.
Survey results: One hundred eighty-seven participants responded to the Web-based survey. Most respondents were interested in mentorship outside their institution to gain insight into career paths and development, to help with goal setting, to assist in networking, to find complementary expertise to that available at the mentee’s institution and to assist in the development of research ideas.
“Through this framework, the need for a mentoring network was identified as fundamental to improving early career success. Participants identified features of an interinstitutional mentoring program that would be most effective. The themes identified will help shape the development of such a program for adult rheumatologists through the ACR,” write the authors in their conclusion.
Ogdie A, Sparks JA, Angeles-Han ST, et al. Barriers and facilitators of mentoring for trainees and early career investigators in rheumatology research: Current state, identification of needs, and road map to an inter-institutional adult rheumatology mentoring program. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2018 Mar:70(3):445–453. doi: 10.1002/acr.23286. [Epub ahead of print]