Who Benefits from Mentoring?
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Background: In reaction to an increasing shortage of family physicians, especially in rural areas, solutions are being sought to improve the structure of vocational training in family medicine and make it more attractive. Since 2012, the competence center for specialist training in family medicine, consisting of a seminar and a mentoring program, has been offered to physicians undergoing vocational training in the German state of Hesse. The development and implementation of the mentoring program was systematically monitored and evaluated. The present paper examines which participants benefit most from such mentoring.Methods: Structured interviews were conducted with the initial participants in the mentoring program before it began and one year after it was completed. The interviews were evaluated by using qualitative content analysis to structure and classify the content.Results: Around 70 % of the surveyed physicians in specialist training (n = 21) in the first two mentoring groups were female. In accordance with the concept of theme-centered interaction (TCI), four categories of persons were identified: a WE-oriented category (six cases), an I-oriented category (three cases), an I/WE-oriented category (seven cases), and an IT-oriented category (five cases). Another feature used to interpret the results was the classification of the value of mentoring. WE-oriented physicians benefited most from the mentoring, followed by I/WE-oriented, and then I-oriented doctors. The IT-oriented group benefited least.Conclusions: The results show that the majority of doctors benefit from mentoring and regard it as supportive. The provided mentoring is most supportive when the doctors in training perceive themselves as belonging to the group. For mentoring to be successful, the mentoring services should be structured and accompanied by trained group supervisors.