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February 2018

Will You Be My Mentor?—Four Archetypes to Help Mentees Succeed in Academic Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1Patient Safety Enhancement Program, Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System and University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
  • 2Division of Hospital Medicine, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
  • 3Department of Medicine, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(2):175-176. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.6537

The origins of mentoring date back to Odysseus, who entrusted care of his son to Mentor when he set off to fight the Trojan wars. Mentor became a trusted advisor, teacher, and friend to Telemachus, epitomizing the attributes that we look for even today when discussing a mentor. Many textbooks and articles in multiple disciplines have been written about the art of mentorship.1 For example, in medical education, advising programs and professional development during clerkships provide mentoring.2 In a collaboration of mentee and mentor, Straus and Sackett,3 a pioneer in evidence-based medicine, highlighted the following evidence-based reasons why academic clinicians benefit from mentoring: they publish more papers, get more grants, are promoted faster, and are more likely to stay at their academic institutions with greater career satisfaction and self-reliance. More recently, an effort to distill what the best mentors do has also emerged as a question of particular interest in the fast-paced world of management.4