Background: The concept of mentoring is believed to be influential in an effective medical and surgical educational environment. Several authors have discussed the issue of mentorship and its challenges, yet no one has studied the prevalence of mentoring among orthopaedic residency programs and its perceived value from the orthopaedic residents' perspective.
Methods: Between January 1, 2008, and February 1, 2008, a survey created by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons was distributed by mail and e-mail to 3655 orthopaedic residents to obtain their opinion of the value of and their experience with mentorship.
Results: Five hundred and six (14%) of the surveyed residents responded. Nearly half of the responding residents either had a mentor or were involved in a mentoring program. Nearly all ranked the value of mentorship as very high and anticipated substantial help from their mentor in their career, research, and education. Only 44% were satisfied with their mentoring environment, and only 17% were highly satisfied. The residents were most satisfied with mentoring when there was a formal program in place. Ninety-six percent of the respondents thought that mentors were either critical or beneficial to their training. Residents who had selected their own mentor were more satisfied with their mentor than were those who had their mentor assigned.
Conclusions: Residents with mentors, residents in mentoring programs, and residents who selected their own mentors had higher satisfaction with their mentoring environment than did those with no formal mentoring program. Residency programs should consider establishing formal mentorship programs and encourage residents to select their own mentors.