Student Mentorship Program


What is mentoring?
Mentoring is a relationship between an experienced and empathetic person (the mentor) and a less experienced junior/student (the mentee), with an aim of fostering professional and personal development for the mentee. A mentoring relationship involves direct interaction between mentor and mentee, providing psychological support and assistance for professional development of the mentee. The mentor also serves as a role-model for the mentee.

Who is a mentor?
Mentors are not born. All teachers can aspire to be good mentors, with effort. Intentionally or unintentionally, we have all had mentors, who have helped us grow and enhance our competencies.

Benefits of mentoring for a medical education programme:
Medical training has its own set of challenges. Any student is likely to value, and benefit from, the guidance of a trustworthy person who has travelled the path before him/her. However, the benefits of mentoring go beyond the student, to include the faculty member and the larger medical college community. Some benefits of mentoring are –

Student (mentee):
• Career development – better academic performance, guidance for an academic career, foster greater interest in research.
• Emotional benefits – improved self-esteem and reduced stress.
• Improved relationships with faculty.

Faculty member (mentor):
• Emotional benefits – satisfaction of helping students, and positively impacting students’ careers.
• Strengthen connection to the medical school - fortifying identity and professional recognition, greater sense of community.
• Personal development – engage in self-reflection about role in students’ lives.

Medical college community:
• Advancement of clinical care.
• More productive research programs.
• Increased commitment to teaching.


Mentoring programs are non-existent in most medical colleges in India. Even in places where they are operational, they are focused more on issues related to administration. Mentoring helps in the holistic development of the student. The mentoring program at St. John’s Medical College (SJMC) aims to be promoted all-round development for the medical student.

Objectives of a mentorship program at SJMC:
The goal of SJMC mentoring programs is to provide a safe environment for the student, that encourages and fosters reflection, promotes self-care and wellness, guides personal development, enhances team building and problem-solving skills, and assists in career exploration. An important intention of mentoring at SJMC is to instil the values, ideals, and mission of the institution in the mentee.

Objectives Approach
1. Career counselling.
2. Enhancing professionalism and personal growth.
3. Increasing interest in research and academic careers.
4. Fostering interest in certain specialities.

1. The relationship is focused on achievement, or acquiring knowledge.
2. It comprises support, direct assistance, and role modelling.
3. It benefits the mentor and mentee.
4. Mentors have influence/achievement within the organizational setting.


The Mentoring Agreement: Mentoring is an addition to one’s professional and personal schedule, both for mentor and mentee. The mentoring partnership requires committed time, energy, and involvement to ensure success. To assist with this, a mentoring agreement is established. This incorporates a regular meeting schedule, with preferred times and frequencies, structuring the mentoring process. Be realistic in developing the mentoring agreement, bearing in mind the other commitments of both mentor and mentee. Decide to maintain a log of these meetings (sample provided in appendix).

Collaboration: Mentoring is a collaborative process, involving the mentor and mentee. Towards facilitating adequate mentee engagement, it is important to discuss pertinent aspects of mentoring in the initial stage. These include goals, expectations, confidentiality, feedback processes, and meeting logistics. It is important to bear in mind the study year of the mentee, in these discussions. For instance, newly joined medical students need an orientation to the medical school, focusing on adjustment to the new environment and coping with expected challenges. However, final year medical students require guidance on selection of postgraduate studies and future career path.

Mentoring meeting agenda:
Across all stages of mentoring, every meeting needs to follow a set out plan – an agenda. This includes the following aspects:
• Specific goals/topics for the meeting.
• Review progress made/successes, tasks undertaken to meet goals.
• Discuss challenges faced – situations and feelings about them.
• Key learning from the meeting.
• Follow-up actions of mentee and mentor.
• Reflect on aspects covered in the meeting.
• Next meeting date and location, and tentative agenda.

Progress checks:
Schedule progress checks periodically throughout the established timeframe. Every two to three months is ideal. These can be incorporated into to your regularly scheduled meetings. This involves both the mentor and mentee asking themselves the following important questions:
• What goals or objectives are we currently attempting to address?
• What goals or objectives remain?
• What level of success have we attained thus far in the process?
• Are we headed in the right direction?
• Will the further accomplishment of our initial goals and objectives take us where we want to go?
• What changes or adjustments to our original plan are needed?
• Have we discovered a previously unidentified goal or objective?
• The mentor needs to facilitate the mentee asking him/herself these questions and accurately answering them.

Final review:
The final review is an instrument to identify what has been achieved. Few aspects to be covered in this discussion are –
• Completion of the mentoring process.
• Accomplishments of mentor-mentee pair, and learnings from the same.
• Any pertinent goals that have been overlooked, and probability of addressing the same.
• Reflect on the differences in communication between the first meeting and last.
• Plan and organize a formal acknowledgement of the closure of the mentoring.
• agreement.

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