Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Medical Education




School of Nursing and Midwifery


Winderbaum, J., & Coventry, L. L. (2024). The benefits, barriers and facilitators of mentoring programs for first-year doctors: A systematic review. Medical Education. Advance online publication.


Introduction: The transition from medical student to first-year doctor is notoriously difficult, yielding a high rate of transition failure, burn-out and mental health deterioration. Doctors in this cohort experience unique challenges during this time, which manifest through performance gaps, issues of professional identity, new occupational pressures, and cultural expectations. Mentoring programs are commonly utilised in the medical profession to foster personal and professional development and improve psychosocial well-being and career satisfaction. However, there exist no systematic reviews examining the use of mentorship specifically for the first-year doctor cohort, given the unique transition challenges faced by this vulnerable group. Purpose: Due to their transition difficulties, evaluate the research on mentorship specifically for first-year doctors, and identify the emerging themes that can inform the benefits to this group, the barriers that impede program implementation and the facilitators that contribute to successful mentorship programs for this cohort. Materials and Methods: The PEO (population, exposure outcome) framework was adopted to develop the research inquiry, after which, a systematic review was conducted, adhering to PRISMA guidelines. The search strategy was conducted with assistance from an experienced university librarian. Screening and selection were completed independently against inclusion/exclusion criteria, by two reviewers. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed using Joanna Briggs critical appraisal instruments. Data sources used included Web of Science Medline, Ebsco Cinahl Plus, Scopus, Web of Science Core Collection and Ovid Journals. Search parameters were restricted to English language and peer-reviewed; date range was unobstructed up to 26 August 2022. Results: A total of 4137 articles were retrieved, with 13 considered to have met full inclusion criteria. An integrative review synthesis identified three major themes; benefits of mentoring for first-year doctors, intrinsic and extrinsic barriers to mentoring programs and facilitating factors that improve successful program implementation. Conclusion: First-year doctors report untenable and highly strenuous working conditions, that result in poor mental health and high attrition rates. Formalised, near-peer, tier mosaic mentoring programs provide significant psychosocial and career benefits to this cohort specifically, bridge the training gap from medical student to first-year doctor and ameliorate patterns of intergenerational bullying, hierarchy and emotional inhibition. However, mentorship is inextricably interrelated to societal–cultural considerations of identity. Mentorship alone cannot overcome endemic cultural challenges within medicine without broader systemic change; however, programs are a valuable option towards positive support for first-year doctors.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License