During postgraduate education in pulmonology, supervisors are responsible for training residents in generic competencies such as communication, professionalism and collaboration, but their focus commonly lies more on medical-technical competencies. As an alternative approach to supporting residents to develop generic skills, we developed a personal mentoring program with a non-medical professional as mentor. In this study, the residents’ experiences with the mentoring program were evaluated.
After an introductory session in which individual learning goals were established, pulmonology residents received at least six, 60–90-minute, individual, mentoring sessions largely consisting of feedback after being observed during daily clinical activities, over a period of 9 months. The residents’ experiences with mentoring were explored through in-depth interviews followed by a qualitative content analysis.
From March to November 2016, ten residents in pulmonology completed the program. Despite initial scepticism, mentoring encouraged residents to reflect deeply on their professional interactions. This caused an increased awareness of the effects of their communication and behaviour on patients. Experimenting with communication and different behaviours in subsequent interactions felt rewarding and contributed to further development, resulting in increased self-confidence and job satisfaction.
Mentoring residents by non-medical coaching was associated with improved residents’ proficiency in generic competencies.