Education| Volume 169, ISSUE 6, P1354-1360, June 2021

Mentoring experience of new surgeons during their transition to independent practice: A nationwide survey

Published:December 28, 2020DOI:


      New surgeons are faced with inadequate mentoring when first entering practice. Our study examined challenges faced by young surgeons during their transition in practice and their mentoring experience when entering practice.


      An article-based survey was mailed in August 2019 to general, colorectal, vascular, and cardiothoracic surgeons that became members of the American College of Surgeons within the past 5 years.


      A total of 853 of 2,915 surveys were completed (29.3% response rate). Both female (38%) and male (62%) surgeons participated. The 3 most common challenges during the transition to practice were confidence building (26.0%), adjusting to a new institutional culture (16.9%), and business and administrative aspects of practice (16.3%). First job attrition rate 44.2%, with the mean duration of the first job being 3.28 ± 0.17 years. Nearly one-third (28.3%) of respondents were not mentored when they first entered practice. The proportion of nonmentored young surgeons leaving their first job (64.3%) was almost twice as that of surgeons who received mentoring (36.3%). Furthermore, the mean duration of the first job was significantly shorter in nonmentored versus mentored surgeons (3.16 ± 0.26 vs 3.76 ± 0.25 years; P < .05). A significant number (43.3%) of respondents reported a desire to be mentored by retired surgeons.


      Our survey highlights the importance of mentoring for young surgeons during their transition into practice. With many young surgeons being enthusiastic about mentoring by retired surgeons, specific programs are necessary to better use their expertise.
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