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Useful and Desired by Young Doctors: Mentoring as Part of Vocational Training in Family Medicine

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2014.0502-0507

german translation / full article

Ferdinand Michael Gerlach, Monika Sennekamp

Keywords: Vocational Training Family Medicine Mentoring Shortage of Family Practitioners

Background: There is a shortage of urgently needed family practitioners in Germany, which is partly due to the imperfect conditions that exist in training for family medicine. In order to improve the quality of this training and to make it more attractive for doctors to specialize in family medicine, we explored the question whether there was a need for personal support during training. A review of international literature shows that mentoring in family medicine has become increasingly important in recent years and it is considered that there is a need for it. In Germany, we know of no structured plans to promote mentoring on a nationwide level.

Methods: Two questionnaires were developed, employed and evaluated. In July 2012, an online version of the first questionnaire was sent out to the email distribution list of the JADE working group for doctors specializing in family medicine. From June 2012–May 2014, the second questionnaire was sent to doctors that had successfully completed their training in the German state of Hesse. Quantitative questions in both questionnaires were analyzed descriptively and open questions qualitatively.

Results: The questionnaire survey showed that there is a significant need for a mentoring program. Of the surveyed graduates in the specialist training for a mentoring programme (n = 78; response rate 60.9 %) almost nobody (6.4 %) had participated in a mentoring program during their training. 84.2 % regard such organized mentoring programs as important and would have participated in it.

Conclusions: Mentoring programs can raise the appeal of training in family medicine and should be prepared and used. This should take into account the needs of doctors completing their training in family medicine. It is difficult to simply adopt existing concepts from other countries, as participants’ needs and local conditions vary considerably. A detailed needs assessment and the preparation of an appropriate mentoring program appear very promising.


(State: 11.12.2014)

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