Update on Mentorship in Orthopaedic Resident Education: A Report from the American Orthopaedic Association.

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Publication Date


Publication Title

The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume


BACKGROUND: Mentorship has been identified as an important element of educational and professional development for surgeons. An assessment that was conducted and reported through the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) in 2008 showed variability among U.S. residencies regarding the structure and requirements for mentorship during orthopaedic training; the assessment also demonstrated variability in residents' satisfaction with mentorship opportunities during their surgical training.

METHODS: An updated survey was developed and distributed via e-mail to residents attending the Resident Leadership Forum at the 2015 American Orthopaedic Association Annual Meeting to determine their views regarding the importance of mentorship, as well as their assessments of formal mentorship programs within their residencies. The updated data were compared with the prior survey results from 2008.

RESULTS: A total of 149 (87.6%) of 170 residents responded to the survey. Of these, 34.9% (51 of 146) reported the existence of a formal mentorship program within their residency, as compared with 26.0% of residencies as stated in the 2008 report. One hundred percent of residents indicated that having a mentor during orthopaedic residency was either critical (63.7%, 93 of 146) or advantageous (36.3%, 53 of 146) to professional development as a surgeon; 74.7% (109 of 146) of residents reported currently having mentors, which appears to represent an increase from the prior report (51%, 258 of 506). However, the percentage of residents who reported being "very" satisfied (17.9%, 25 of 140) or "somewhat" satisfied (43.6%, 61 of 140) with their mentorship opportunities was almost identical to the prior report (61.9% [86 of 139] versus 61.0%, respectively). Overall, residents from programs with formal mentorship programs in place reported significantly higher satisfaction with their mentoring program/environment compared with those from programs without formal mentorship programs in place (3.98 versus 3.54, p = 0.026).

CONCLUSIONS: Orthopaedic residents continue to overwhelmingly indicate that mentorship is an important component of residency education: 34.9% of residencies have a formal mentorship program, compared with 26.0% in the prior survey. Additionally, 74.7% of current residents reported having a mentor compared with 51% of residents in the prior study. Despite this difference, a very similar percentage of residents indicated that they were either "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with their mentorship experience. Residents from programs with formal mentorship programs reported significantly higher satisfaction with their mentorship programs compared with those without formal programs. These results support continued efforts toward improving mentorship opportunities within U.S. orthopaedic residency programs.

Clinical Institute

Orthopedics & Sports Medicine