Purpose Although mentorship is vital for fostering the careers of general internists, many of the Society of General Internal Medicine's (SGIM) members do not participate in its one-on-one mentoring opportunities. The Southern region offered innovative “panel mentoring” sessions at its 2006 meeting to establish feasibility and acceptability.
Methods Registrants of the Southern SGIM meeting interested in a panel mentoring opportunity participated in 30-minute panel mentoring sessions composed of one mentee and four mentors with varying areas of expertise and interest. All sessions were tape recorded for content, and participants completed questionnaires related to the feasibility and acceptability of the panel mentoring format.
Results Nine mentees and 11 mentors participated in the sessions. All of the mentees either strongly agreed or agreed that the sessions were useful and enjoyable, had well-matched mentors, and were feasible. One hundred percent of the mentees would recommend the sessions to others, and 67% preferred panel mentoring over traditional one-on-one mentoring, even though only 33% had participated in traditional mentoring sessions at SGIM meetings. Overall, the sessions were rated a 1.2 (with 1 being excellent and 5 being poor). Ninety-seven percent of mentors either strongly agreed or agreed that the sessions were feasible, 65% strongly agreed or agreed that they helped the mentee, 85% strongly agreed or agreed that they enjoyed the sessions, and 79% strongly agreed or agreed that the mentee was a good match for the panel mentors. Overall, the sessions were rated1.3 using the same scale as above.
Conclusions Based on our pilot data, the evidence would support further research into the innovative panel mentoring concept using more volunteers as mentees and mentors. Panel mentoring might be attractive to many as an alternative or in addition to traditional one-on-one mentoring offered by SGIM at its meetings.