This was the foremost, quantitative study to examine a mentoring program at a religious medical school, analyzing medical students’ perceptions regarding the role functions of faculty mentors, TC/YDs, and school counselors. Table 3 and Table 4 together indicated the triple mentors were distinguished in role functions. Overall, faculty mentors offered medical students with the most preferred guidance counseling in all four role functions, especially educational guidance; TC/YDs provided prominent and preferable humanistic/moral guidance and career counseling. Conversely, school counselors were less preferred, which could have reflected in they were for students in need. Moreover, analysis revealed students were evenly guided regarding their gender and undergraduate year. The most featured outcome of this study was that TC/YDs provided the students with prominent humanistic/moral guidance and career counseling, which is novel and important.
Table 3 indicated how medical students perceived supportive guidance from the faculty mentors. This finding echoed previous studies indicating the frequency and nature of such guidance were positively correlated with students’ perceptions of the mentors’ supportiveness and program satisfaction [7, 14]. This was also in line with related studies on how faculty mentors’ guidance through various approaches can have positive impacts on students [3–6]. Medical students gave lower scores to school counselors should be interpreted cautiously (Table 3). In this regard, such lower scores could have been based on their limited contact with the school counselors (Table 1), and not on the fact that they were less important. As for the TC/YDs, most students were willing to interact with them at least three times a semester on specific dates for humanistic/moral guidance and career counseling (Table 1). This was probably since the TC/YDs were senior volunteers with kindness and enthusiasm to education, and had professional careers (e.g., doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, and professionals). They were willing to keep a close connection with the students, share their life stories, experiences, and philosophy of life, which echoes TCU’s mission statement: To prepare those who embrace “humanistic literacy” and are willing to tend to those in need [8–10]. As stated above, the characteristics of the TC/YDs gained themselves a position in the mentoring program and provided comprehensive guidance along with the faculty mentors and school counselors.
Despite there were numerous tools evaluating the mentoring program, few tools have conceptualized humanity and morality as part of such programs. According to the findings, the mean scores of the humanistic/moral guidance (Table 3 and Table 4) were comparable to other guidance, implicating medical students perceived such guidance as a crucial part of the mentoring program. In other words, humanity and morality could not be more important than other aspects in life; students in the 21st century should not only care about their education, career, and mental health, but their relationship with the society, the environment, and the world.
There are several limitations worth noting. This study focused on the aspect of guidance counseling role functions, which might not be generalizable to other fields such as accountability and effectiveness. All of the outcomes were based on a single perspective of the medical students at TCU, which could result in a lack of representation from other departments or colleges. The fact that the TC/YDs were volunteer, unpaid social elites made it more difficult to be ubiquitous in other schools. Even so, the RFMPS can still be selectively utilized for faculty mentors and school counselors, especially regarding the humanistic/moral guidance. Thus, future research can explore the utilization of the RFMPS on a wider scale, investigate whether the mentoring program at TCU is preferable over other mentoring programs, analyze different participants’ perceptions, and conceptualize the humanistic, moral, or spiritual aspects of the mentoring program. In-depth interviews or focus groups could also provide a better understanding of the TC/YDs and offer additional insights into humanistic/moral guidance.