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Featured Clinical Reviews

A Piece of My Mind
April 12, 2016

Mentorship Malpractice

Author Affiliations
  • 1The VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2016;315(14):1453-1454. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.18884

The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.

Steven Spielberg

The word mentorship evokes strong emotional and intellectual chords. In formal parlance, mentorship has been defined as “a dynamic, reciprocal relationship in a work environment between an advanced-career incumbent (mentor) and a beginner (mentee) aimed at promoting the career development of both.”1 In our careers in academic medicine, we have seen mentees benefit from mentors through development of critical thinking skills and advice on research ideas, scholarship, and networking opportunities. Similarly, now as mentors we have also benefitted by gaining an ally to support our work, developing larger circles of influence, and establishing legacies as academic leaders. It is thus not surprising that mutually beneficial mentor-mentee relationships are a key predictor of academic success.2

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