Mentoring in the Medical Student Summer Research Program is defined as supporting and assisting the student (mentee) in the completion of his/her summer project.  The mentor possesses the expertise that will facilitate the mentee’s academic and professional development through a one-on-one, committed relationship between the mentor and mentee.

The mentor:

  • serves both as a teacher and as a supervisor.  The mentor provides instruction, helps establish short-term goals and timelines for the mentee, critiques and edits written work of the mentee, reviews and tracks the mentee’s progress, provides feedback, and challenges the mentee.
  • serves as a role model. The mentor imparts knowledge, experience, and professionalism both directly and indirectly through his/her behavior, attitudes, and perspectives.
  • is flexible and adaptable to the needs of the mentee.  The mentor should be willing to adapt his/her educational approach as the mentee progresses in his/her project and as the needs of the mentee change.  Initially the mentor may need to play an active role in establishing short-term goals and timelines to maintain and reinforce progress.  Later on, the mentor may serve more as a guide or consultant to the mentee.
  • is available and has regularly scheduled, in person meetings with the mentee. The in-person meetings can be supplemented with communication via telephone, voice mail, or email. However, these forms of communication should not replace regularly scheduled face-to-face meetings.


Suggested “Do’s and Don’ts” for Strengthening Mentor-Mentee Relationships

Mentor Do’s                                                                Mentor Don’ts

Be available                                                                 Don’t . . . write the research proposal

Convey respect and confidence                                  Don’t . . . promote your own agenda

Focus on mentee                                                        Don’t . . . use “free labor”

Ask questions                                                              Don’t . . . take credit

Challenge mentee                                                       Don’t . . . make a “clone”

Track progress

Don’t let your mentee procrastinate

Identify strengths

Give feedback


Mentee Do’s                                                               Mentee Don’ts

Be punctual                                                                  Don’t . . . avoid decisions

Follow through                                                             Don’t . . . rely exclusively on mentor

Set agendas                                                                Don’t . . . acquiesce

Communicate                                                              Don’t . . . over idealize

Accept critique

Convey respect

Accept challenge

Show appreciation


Modified from: Rose, G.L., M.R. Rukstalis, and M.A. Schuckit. 2005.  Informal mentoring between faculty and medical students.  Acad. Med.  80: 344-348.