(P012) Characteristics of Mentorship During Radiation Oncology Residency

April 30, 2015

Almost half of current radiation oncology residents do not have a mentor. Of those with mentors, most established relationships early in their training, during PGY-2 or prior. Therefore, it is imperative to intervene early in the training process to produce successful mentorship experiences. Many residents require more than one active mentor, which enables multiple goals to be met, such as career development, increasing one’s research portfolio, networking, and coping with residency.

Gurleen Dhami, MD, Wendy Gao, MD, Michael Gensheimer, MD, Andrew D. Trister, MD, PhD, Gabrielle M. Kane, MD, Jing Zeng, MD; University of Washington Medical Center

PURPOSE: The mentor-mentee relationship iscrucialduring residency trainingto fosterprofessionaland personal growth. Multiple surveys inotherresidency specialties have identified the mentorship’s role inprofessional development and career satisfaction. This national survey of radiation oncology residents was conducted toidentify keycharacteristics of resident mentorship to identify areas for improvement.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: An anonymous questionnaire was sent to all radiation oncology residents/recent graduates at Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited residency programs, identified per the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO) member directory. Questions assessed demographics, prevalence of formal mentorship program, opinions about the value of mentorship, and details of the relationship. Responses were scored on a 5-point ordinal Likert scale.

RESULTS: Out of 596 survey invitations, 157 residents responded (25%). Justover half of respondents had a current mentor (53%).The majority found their mentors early in training, with 49% identified during postgraduate year (PGY)-2, 28% establishing relationships during medical school, and only 14% during PGYs 3,4, and 5. Mentors weremost commonly selected from faculty members whom the residents knew (64%). They were also identified by contacting faculty members withsimilarinterests(33%) and by recommendations from others (29%).Most mentors were chosen from the junior faculty (29%) but also included senior faculty members (19%), radiation oncologists at another academic center (18%), other faculty members at the same institution (10%), program directors (11%), department chairs (6%), and others (7%).

Residents often had more than one active mentor, with most having two to three active mentors (68%),while26% had one mentor, and 6% had more than active mentors. Frequent and regular meetings were a common feature of the mentor-mentee relationship, with 28% meeting more than once per week, 30% meeting once per week, and 30% meeting once per month. Only 13% of residents met twice per year or less with their mentors. The most valued trait that was desired from a mentor was approachability (90%). Other desired traits included availability (82%), ability to provide opportunities (77%), and a clinical role model (68%). The majority of residents found mentorship helpful for career development (83%), research (75%), lifestyle/personal advice (71%), networking (46%),and coping with residency (46%).

CONCLUSION: Almost half of current radiation oncology residents do not have a mentor. Of those with mentors, most established relationships early in their training, during PGY-2 or prior. Therefore, it is imperative to intervene early in the training process to produce successful mentorship experiences. Many residents require more than one active mentor, which enables multiple goals to be met, such as career development, increasing one’s research portfolio, networking, and coping with residency.

Proceedings of the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Radium Society - americanradiumsociety.org