Mentorship Effectiveness in Cardiothoracic Surgical Training

Ann Thorac Surg. 2020 Oct 1;S0003-4975(20)31558-7. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2020.07.045. Online ahead of print.


Background: Mentoring is an essential component of cardiothoracic surgery training, yet trainees report varied experiences despite substantial efforts to enhance mentorship opportunities. This study aimed to evaluate mentorship effectiveness and identify gaps in mentorship education.

Methods: A survey was distributed to cardiothoracic surgical trainees in Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited programs (n=531). Responses to 16 questions concerning trainee experiences, expectations, and perspectives on mentorship were collected. An 11-component mentorship effectiveness tool generated a composite score (0-55), with a score ≤44 indicating less effective mentorship.

Results: Sixty-seven residents completed the survey (12.6%) with most (83.6%) reporting a current mentor. Trainees with mentors cited "easy to work with and approachable," (44/58, 75.9%) as the major criterion for mentor selection, while those without a mentor reported an inability to identify one who truly reflected the resident's needs (6/11, 45.5%). Resident age, gender, race/ethnicity, marital status, family status, postgraduate year, and training program type or size were not associated with having a mentor (p=0.15-0.73). The median mentorship effectiveness score was 51[IQR 44, 55]. Over one-third of residents (25/67) had either no mentor (n=6), less effective mentorship (n=16) or both (n=3). Resident and program characteristics were not associated with mentorship effectiveness (p=0.39-0.99). Finally, 61.2% of residents have not received education on effective mentorship and 53.8% do not currently serve as a mentor.

Conclusions: Many resident respondents have either no mentor or less effective mentorship and most reported not having received education on mentorship. Addressing these gaps in mentorship training and delivery should be prioritized.