Is physician mentorship associated with the occurrence of adverse patient safety events?

Reema Harrison, Anurag Sharma, Rebecca Lawton, Kevin Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mentorship has been identified as a beneficial practice for doctors and key aspect of continuing professional development, associated with a number of potential clinical and nonclinical gains. The likely contribution of mentorship to enhancing patient safety is acknowledged, but there is a dearth of empirical studies that attempt to make associations between the impact of mentorship for physicians on patient safety outcomes. This article begins to fill this gap by exploring whether a physician with a mentor reports having fewer near-misses or adverse events, compared with a physician with no mentor.

Methods: An online survey was administered to fellows and members of the Royal College of Physicians London using their membership database in April 2013. Adverse events and near misses are modeled as two separate binary variables using a logit regression framework with “having a mentor” being the main covariate. The marginal effect of this covariate captures the effect of mentorship on adverse events.

Results: A total of 1755 doctors (37% female) responded who represented all internal medical specialties. Our results show that compared with physicians with no mentor, the probability of getting involved in an adverse event or near miss is reduced by 12.69% (95% confidence interval = −17.41 to −7.98) and 11.12% (95% confidence interval = −15.84 to −6.41) for physicians with a mentor.

Conclusions: Having a mentor may contribute toward minimizing preventable harm to patients, which is a priority for health systems internationally, but longer-term studies of mentorship are necessary to determine the aspects of mentorship that are particularly important for enhancing patient safety outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1633-e1637
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Patient Safety
Issue number8
Early online date13 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • mentorship
  • adverse events
  • continuing professional education
  • patient safety


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