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Medical students’ experiences of the benefits and influences regarding a placement mentoring programme preparing them for future practice as junior doctors: a qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ka Ying Bonnie Ng, Siobhan Mary Lynch, Jacquie Kelly, Obinna Mba

School/Research organisations


Objective: To study medical students’ views and experiences of the benefits and influences regarding a mentoring programme aimed at preparing them for future practice as a doctor during their Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) placement in a UK teaching hospital.

Design: A qualitative approach, employing focus groups and thematic analysis.

Setting: Single-centre UK Teaching hospital.

Participants: Thirteen undergraduate medical students at the University of Southampton who had completed their standard 8-week placement in O&G and had been assigned a mentor throughout.

Main outcome measures: Medical students’ experiences and perceptions of the benefits and influences of having a mentor throughout their O&G placement.

Results: From our data, four central themes were identified: integration, feedback, seniority and expectations. Students found mentorship useful for integration into the team, and an opportunity for constructive feedback on their clinical skills and professional skills for example, communication and team-working. Seniority and the level of contact of their mentor was the main reason for differing mentoring experiences: although senior mentors spent less time with their mentees, they were able to offer more careers advice. Students felt that the mentors and mentees were not always clear on the expectations of the mentoring programme.

Conclusions: Mentorship may be a useful addition to help prepare students for future clinical practice. Mentor training may improve consistency of experiences. This study demonstrates that a mentoring programme is deliverable and widely accepted by medical students in a clinical placement such as O&G, and may have wider benefits if introduced on a regional/national level.



Original languageEnglish
Article numbere032643
Number of pages8
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2020

    Research areas

  • Mentoring, Medical Education, Qualitative

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