The Art and Science of Mentorship in Cardiothoracic Surgery: A Systematic Review of the Literature

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Workforce on Career Development

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: As academic cardiothoracic surgeons focus on producing a new generation of successful surgeon leaders, mentorship has emerged as one of the most important variables influencing professional and personal success and satisfaction. This review explores the literature to determine the benefits, qualities, and features of the mentor relationship. Methods: A comprehensive review was performed in February 2020 of Ovid MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the SCOPUS Database using “‘mentor”‘ as a primary search term. The titles and abstracts of these publications were then reviewed by 2 of the authors to identify relevant sources addressing topics related to mentorship in cardiothoracic surgery and also to identify 4 specific areas of focus: (1) the value of mentorship, (2) the skills needed to be an effective mentor, (3) effective approaches for identifying and receiving mentorship, and (4) the unique considerations associated with mentorship for traditionally underrepresented populations in surgery. Results: Of 16,469 articles reviewed, 167 relevant manuscripts were identified, and 62 were included. Conclusions: There is undeniable value in mentorship when navigating a career in cardiothoracic surgery. By sharing the most significant features and skills of both ideal mentors and mentees, this review hoped to provide a framework to improve the quality of mentorship from both sides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1100
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Surgery


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