Preparing Interprofessional Faculty to Be Humanistic Mentors for Medical Students: The GW-Gold Mentor Development Program

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Abstract

Introduction:

The GW-Gold Humanistic Mentor Development Program addresses the challenge faced by medical schools to educate faculty to prepare students for humanistic practice. Grounded in Branch's Teaching Professional and Humanistic Values model, the program prepares interprofessional faculty mentoring teams in humanistic communities of practice. The teams consist of physician-psychosocial professional pairs, each mentoring a small student group in their professional development course. Through GW-Gold workshops, faculty mentors develop interprofessional humanistic communities of practice, preparing them to lead second such communities with their students. This article describes the program and its evaluation.

Methods:

To assess outcomes and better understand the mentor experience, we used a mixed-method validating triangulation design consisting of simultaneous collection of quantitative (mentor and student surveys) and qualitative (open-ended survey questions and focus group) data. Data were analyzed in parallel and merged at the point of interpretation, allowing for triangulation and validation of outcomes.

Results:

Mentors rated the program highly, gained confidence in their humanistic skills, and received high scores from students. Three themes emerged that validated program design, confirmed outcomes, and expanded on the mentor experience: (1) Interprofessional faculty communities developed through observation, collaboration, reflection, and dialogue; (2) Humanistic mentors created safe environments for student engagement; and (3) Engaging in interprofessional humanistic communities of practice expanded mentors' personal and professional identities.

Discussion:

Outcomes support the value of the GW-Gold program's distinctive features in preparing faculty to sustain humanism in medical education: an interprofessional approach and small communities of practice built on humanistic values.

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