Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Surgeons

Back to 2020 Program


Mentoring Experience of New Surgeons during their Transition to Independent Practice: A Nationwide Survey
Allan Stolarski MD MS1,2, Katherine He MD1,3, Naomi Sell MD4, Priyanka Chugh MD1,2, Patrick O'Neal MD1,2, Douglas S. Smink MD3, Edward Whang MD1,3, Gentian Kristo MD1,3
1Department of Surgery, Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA, 2Department of Surgery, Boston Medical Center, Boston University Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, 3Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA, 4Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Background: 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.
Methods: A paper-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 last 5 years.
Results: A total of 853 of 2915 surveys were completed (29.3% response rate). Both female (38%) and male (62%) surgeons participated. The three 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 non-mentored 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 non-mentored vs. mentored surgeons (3.16 +/- 0.26 vs. 3.76 +/- 0.25 years; p < 0.05). A significant number (43.3%) of respondents reported a desire to be mentored by retired surgeons.
Conclusion: 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 utilize their expertise.


Back to 2020 Program