Evaluation of a novel mentor program to improve surgical care for US hospitals

Int J Qual Health Care. 2017 Apr 1;29(2):234-242. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzx005.


Objective: To evaluate a novel mentor program for 27 US surgeons, charged with improving quality at their respective hospitals, having been paired 1:1 with 27 surgeon mentors through a state-wide quality improvement (QI) initiative.

Design: Mixed-methods utilizing quantitative surveys and in-depth semi-structured interviews.

Setting: The Illinois Surgical Quality Improvement Collaborative (ISQIC) utilized a novel Mentor Program to guide surgeons new to QI.

Participants: All mentor-mentee pairs received the survey (n = 27). Purposive sampling identified a subset of mentors (n = 8) and mentees (n = 4) for in-depth semi-structured interviews.

Intervention: Surgeons with expertise in QI mentored surgeons new to QI.

Main outcome measures: (i) Quantitative: self-reported satisfaction with the mentor program; (ii) Qualitative: key themes suggesting actions and strategies to facilitate mentorship in QI.

Results: Mentees expressed satisfaction with the mentor program (n = 24, 88.9%) and agreed that mentorship is vital to ISQIC (n = 24, 88.9%). Analysis of interview data revealed four key themes: (i) nuances of data management, (ii) culture of quality and safety, (iii) mentor-mentee relationship and (iv) logistics. Strategies from these key themes include: utilize raw data for in-depth QI understanding, facilitate presentations to build QI support, identify opportunities for in-person meetings and establish scheduled conference calls. The mentor's role required sharing experiences and acting as a resource. The mentee's role required actively bringing questions and identifying barriers.

Conclusions: Mentorship plays a vital role in advancing surgeon knowledge and engagement with QI in ISQIC. Key themes in mentorship reflect strategies to best facilitate mentorship, which may serve as a guide to other collaboratives.

Keywords: collaboration; mentors; qualitative methods; quality culture; quality improvement; surgery; survey.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Male
  • Mentors*
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Program Evaluation
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration*
  • Surgeons / psychology*
  • Surgery Department, Hospital / standards*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires