. 2022 Jul 27;14(7):e27356.

doi: 10.7759/cureus.27356.

eCollection 2022 Jul.


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Luis Santiesteban et al.




Medical school curricula integrate classroom Academic teaching, hands-on clinical training, longitudinal professional development, and identity formation to prepare students to enter the healthcare workforce as residents. Mentorship, coaching, and advising are well-recognized approaches used by educators to help young learners accomplish their personal and professional goals and objectives. However, undergraduate medical education literature has not clearly articulated the distinctions between the roles and core responsibilities of each guidance approach. Attempts to describe each role and responsibility have generated ambiguity and steered institutions towards implementing their own role-specific functions. The purpose of this paper is to establish a functional framework that may be used to differentiate the principal duties of a mentor, coach, and advisor in the context of undergraduate medical education (UME). Four key components are necessary to achieve this goal: (1) adopting a singular definition for each form of guidance; (2) characterizing each role based on unique skills; (3) describing the interplay between learner needs and educator capabilities; (4) training educators on how to effectively distinguish each form of guidance. Creating clear distinctions between mentors, coaches, and advisors in medical education will bolster students’ Academic experience and improve the educator-learner relationship. These definitions may also benefit faculty members by providing a clear framework for their responsibilities, which can be used for evaluations or determining future promotions.


advising; coaching; medical education; mentoring students; mentorship program; professional mentor; undergraduate medical student.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.