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ANZ J Surg. 2015 Apr;85(4):225-9. doi: 10.1111/ans.13004. Epub 2015 Feb 3.

Mentoring in surgical training.

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Department of Urology, Port Macquarie Base Hospital, Rural Clinical School, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Surgical mentors have helped trainees develop fulfilling and academically productive careers, while supervisors are formally assigned to impart skills and oversee training. This paper reviews the comparative roles of the supervisor and mentor and how they overlap, while exploring the impact of the 'unknown' mentor. While the supervisor's role in directing the student is formally recognized, the mentee will personally select a mentor who successfully models the career and life balance to which the mentee aspires. The unknown mentor is known only to the mentee. The mentee's commitment to communicating with both mentor and supervisor is crucial to success. Better processes can be used to guide the mentor relationship. Confusion between the two roles - mentor and supervisor - is due to their complementary nature as well as an overlap in roles. Both remain essential to the growth and development of the surgical trainee. The unknown mentor could give detached advice and guidance to the student, while acting as a positive role model.


mentor; mentoring; surgical mentor; surgical supervision

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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