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Table 3 Career support received

From: Academic career in medicine – requirements and conditions for successful advancement in Switzerland

Category Examples
1. Making onself out as a proactive junior academic 1. I had to make an active effort to obtain support. The research project came about because we discussed it and I volunteered to tackle it.
   2. I did not know my superior personally and tried to join his research group. As we were both happy to work together, things developed from there.
   3. Projects were worked out together. The senior physician gave me ideas and supported me in putting them into practice.
2. Motivating activities by senior academics and mentors 4. My mentor herself was very actively involved in mentoring. She had spent 3 years in America where they have mentoring programs.
   5. My thesis supervisor approached me, we worked his ideas out together, I then put most of them into practice on my own. In time I also developed my own projects and presented them to the relevant people. It was a fluid transition towards independence.
   6. I was in a mentoring program for 1 year. On the whole it was helpful. Everyone was allocated a mentor. I had a professor of anesthesiology. He tended to give me general advice on career issues. As he was in a different specialty he could not provide much help in building up a network. In the mentoring program we also had a few workshops on the qualifications you needed to be eligible for habilitation, how to plan this route and how you could continue academic work in parallel to specialist clinical training.
   7. In the children's hospital in Bern we have a mentoring project which I joined. My mentor worked in the same hospital and had some influence there. Thanks to this person we were able to get some research projects and my further clinical training back on track.
3. Supportive senior staff at different hierarchical levels 8. In Basel the medical school course includes primary care physician training. And this gave rise to a relationship with a family doctor in Basel who now advises me. He has become a mentor to me, especially on the personal level. I also receive a lot of encouragement from the Professor. This is a friendship which arose from my being able to solve his computer problems. I pose no danger to a professor about to retire (although I have no intention of being a danger). I am also supported by colleagues who are a year ahead of me; we are all in this together, everyone has the same problems.
   9. I received support from senior physicians and heads of department, more in the sense of informal mentoring. Part of the support I received was to ease the pressure in hospital, especially when we wanted to carry out joint clinical studies.
   10. I receive support from my current superior in the sense of mentoring and career planning, also from the laboratory research director, a natural scientist who helps me in my research.
4. Research resources provides (time, infrastructure, money) 11. I received most support from my thesis supervisor, he made it possible for me to spend a year in academia and also financed this with third party funds, he also taught me the academic skills.
   12. In Bern I had someone who supported me in carrying out research and gave me free time to do it. I was also given access to clinical data and software.
   13. My superior suggested that I could now spend 80% of my time on clinical work and continue doing research for 20%.
   14. I was given support both in planning basic research and in implementing projects, also in how to draw up project applications, present research results to conferences and describe them in publications.
   15. All the conferences I attend are fully paid for, including hotel, flight and car hire. An additional qualification, Master of Science and Clinical Research, is now being funded (CHF 25,000). I am also given the time for this.
5. Social network and family 16. My husband supports me in every way he can. A woman cannot forge a career without a tolerant partner.
   17. My partner is a biologist and works in research, I discuss quite a lot with her, including future plans, e.g. going abroad.
   18. In my private life there is my wife who is a clinician; she naturally knows what my job entails, can understand my problems and helps me move forward through discussion.
   19. My father-in-law (unfortunately dead now) was also active in research, I had lots of career-specific discussions with him.
   20. My friends support me through our common leisure activities, which balance work.
   21. I received some financial support from my family and parents.