Early Career Mentoring for Translational Researchers: Mentee Perspectives on Challenges and Issues

Thomas E. Keller, Peter J. Collier, Jennifer E. Blakeslee, Kay Logan, Karen McCracken, Cynthia Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: The education and training of early career biomedical translational researchers often involves formal mentoring by more experienced colleagues. Purposes: This study investigated the nature of these mentoring relationships from the perspective of mentees. The objective was to understand the challenges and issues encountered by mentees in forming and maintaining productive mentoring relationships. Methods: Three focus groups (n = 14) were conducted with early career researchers who had mentored career development awards. Thematic analysis identified, categorized, and illustrated the challenges and issues reported by mentees. Results: The range of mentee challenges was reflected in five major categories: (a) network-finding appropriate mentors to meet various needs; (b) access-structuring schedules and opportunities to receive mentoring; (c) expectations-negotiating the mechanics of the mentoring relationship and its purpose; (d) alignment-managing mentor-mentee mismatches regarding interests, priorities, and goals; and (e) skills and supports-developing the institutional supports to be successful. Conclusions: Mentoring relationships created for academic training and career development contend with tasks common to many other relationships, namely, recognizing compatibility, finding time, establishing patterns, agreeing to goals, and achieving aims. Identifying challenges faced by mentees can facilitate the development of appropriate trainings and supports to foster mentoring relationships in academic and career settings. © 2014

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-216
Number of pages6
JournalTeaching and Learning in Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • career development
  • mentee perspectives
  • mentoring relationships
  • research training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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