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 Find a Mentor

A good mentor is one of the most effective persuaders in choosing a field of study. The Society for Vascular Surgery® has organized a group of members who have volunteered to mentor and develop relationships with residents and students interested in a career in vascular surgery. Email studentresident@vascularsociety.org or fill out the request form to be matched with a possible mentor.

To learn more about the roles and expectations of mentees and mentors, read an excerpt of the SVS mentee toolkit.

The following is an excerpt from the SVS Mentee Toolkit, 2013 Society for Vascular Surgery.

The word mentor was originally inspired by the character Mentor in Homer's Odyssey, though the actual mentor in the story was relatively ineffective, the goddess Athena takes on his appearance and guides young Telemachus, the mentee, in his time of difficulty.  Today's definition of a mentor, per Merriam-Webster, is a trusted counselor or guide, and that of a mentee or protégé is one who is protected or trained or whose career is furthered by a person of experience, prominence, or influence.

This relationship is fundamentally beneficiary to the mentee, in the medical community, mentee's have consistently been shown to have higher salaries, more publications, higher academic ranks, and higher career satisfaction. However, the mentor also benefits, as the mentee's success reflecting well on the mentor as well as the personal fulfillment in helping another.

How do you benefit most from your role as the mentee?

As in any other partnership, the success of the relationship is based on equal contributions of partners, the mentee and mentor. Your role, as the mentee, is broken into three dimensions: personal, relational, and professional (Table 3). You should be honest, reliable, and courageous; you should always respect your mentor. You should be proactive; you should initiate meetings, identify your strengths, weaknesses, and career goals, and the purpose of the meeting. As the mentee, you should be able to take appropriate critiques and work to effect change in order to achieve your goals. You should have a true passion to succeed in your career.
 

What are your expectations from the mentor?

Similarly, the role of mentor is broken into three dimensions: personal, relational, and professional (Table 3). Your mentor should be altruistic, with the best interest of you, the mentee, always on the forefront of the relationship; they should be honest, open, trustworthy, and nonjudgmental. The relationship should be based on developing your strengths and achieving your goals, not the goals of your mentor. Also, given your mentor's seniority, they should offer their knowledge, learned with experience, and their influence, earned over time, to you. 
 

What about the first meeting?

The first meeting should be relatively informal and casual. Your mentor should get to know you on both a professional and personal level; however, you should remember the ultimate goal of the relationship is for professional advancement. You should review your in-service/board scores, clinical evaluations, and curriculum vitae (CV) with your mentor. You should come to the meeting with a general idea of their own strengths, weaknesses, and goals (Table 5) and look toward your mentor to help you identify action plans for improvement of weaknesses and achievement of career goals.
 
The expectations of the relationship on both sides, the mentor and mentee, should be made clear at this meeting, as well as, plans for a follow-up meeting and considerations for a long-term relationship.

Table 3: Characteristics of mentors and mentees.
 
 
Personal
Relational
Professional
Mentee
Honest
Proactive
Passion to succeed
 
Reliable
Willing to learn
 
 
Courageous
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mentor
Altruistic
Accessible
Well-respected
 
Honest
Sincere
Knowledgeable
 
Open
 
Senior
 
Trustworthy
 
 
 
Active listener
 
 
 
Nonjudgmental
 
 
Adapted from:  McKenna AM, Staus SE.  Charting a professional course: A review of mentorship in medicine.  J Am Coll Radiol.  8:109-112, 2011.
 
Table 5: Possible Mentee Goals
 
Academic level
Potential goals
Medical Student
Build relationships
 
Assistance and information about 0/5 vascular residencies
 
Personal statements/Curriculum Vitae
 
Research opportunities
 
Interviewing skills
 
 
General Surgery Resident
Build relationships
 
Assistance and information about 5/2 vascular fellowships
 
Personal statements/Curriculum Vitae
 
Research opportunities
 
Interviewing skills
 
 
Vascular Surgery Fellows
Build relationships
 
Assistance with career:  Academic vs. Private practice
 
Job opportunities
 
Curriculum Vitae
 
Research/Chapter writing opportunities
 
 
Junior Faculty
Build relationships
 
Recommendations for academic positions
 
Recommendations for society membership
 
Assistance with advancement in vascular societies
 
Research opportunities/assistance with grant applications
 
SUGGESTED READING
McKenna AM, Staus SE.  Charting a professional course: A review of mentorship in medicine.  J Am Coll Radiol.  8:109-112, 2011.

Butcher L.  Mentorship program designed to advance women in academic surgery.  Bulletin of the ACS.  94(10):6-9, 2009.

Calligaro KD, Dougherty MJ, Sidawy AN, Cronenwett JL.  Choice of vascular surgery as a specialty: Survey of vascular surgery residents, general surgery chief residents, and medical students at hospitals with vascular surgery training programs.  JVS.  40(5):978-984, 2004.

Sidawy AN.  Presidential address: Generations apart – bridging the generational divide in vascular surgery.  JVS. 38:1147-53, 2003.

Rose GL, Rukstalis MR, Schuckit MA.  Informal mentoring between faculty and medical students.  Acad Med.  80(4):344-348, 2005.

Levy BD, Katz JT, Wolf MA, Sillman JS, Handin RI, Dzau VJ.  An initiative in mentoring to promote residents and faculty members' careers.  Acad Med. 79(9):845-850, 2004.

Berk RA, Berg J, Mortimer R, Wlaton-Moss B, Yeo TP.  Measuring the effectiveness of faculty mentoring relationshipsAcad Med. 80(1):66-71, 2005.

Chew LD, Watanabe JM, Buchwalk D, Lessler DS.  Junior faculty's perspectives on mentoring.  Acad Med. 78(6):652, 2003.

Hoover EL.  Mentoring surgeons in private and academic practiceArch Surg. 140(6):598-608, 2005.

Palepu A, Friedman RH, Barnett RC, Carr PL, Ash AS, Szalacha L, et al.  Junior faculty members mentoring relationships and their professional development in U.S. medical schoolsAcad Med. 73(3):318-323, 1998.

Souba WW.  Mentoring young academic surgeons, our most precious assetJ Surg Res. 82(2):113-120, 1999.

Updated September 2013

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VascularWeb® is the prime source for all vascular health and disease information, and is presented by the Society for Vascular Surgery®. Its members are vascular surgeons, specialists, and vascular health professionals who are specialty-trained in all treatments for vascular disease including medical management, non-invasive procedures, and surgery.