Mentors and Mentoring

  • Nicholas R. Teman
  • Rebecca M. MinterEmail author
Part of the Success in Academic Surgery book series (SIAS)


The origin of the term mentor comes from Homer’s The Odyssey, in which the character Mentor was entrusted to care for Telemachus, the son of Odysseus. When Odysseus left Greece to fight in the Trojan War, he placed Mentor in charge of raising his son. Mentor cultivated a relationship with Telemachus through guidance and education and came to treat him much like a son. It is this type of relationship and support that has come to be the idealized form of modern mentorship. As one publication noted, “mentoring is about helping people to make their own choices by suggesting options to them. It is not about telling them what to do or how to do it. Mentoring is a developing relationship encompassing a wide range of issues, not just those concerned with problem-solving – career, personal, or family issues may arise. It is imperative, therefore, that a mentor is prepared to think about the broader aspects of people development and the factors that influence them in their daily work and their choice of careers.”


Telemachus People Development Surgical Education Mentor-mentee Relationship Mentoring Junior Faculty 
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Further Reading

  1. Memon B, Memon MA. Mentoring and surgical training: a time for reflection! Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract. 2010;15:749–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Patel VM, Warren O, Ahmed K, et al. How can we build mentorship in surgeons of the future? ANZ J Surg. 2011;81:418–24.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ramani S, Gruppen L, Kachur EK. Twelve tips for developing effective mentors. Med Teach. 2006;28:404–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Sosa JA. Choosing, and being, a good mentor. In: Chen H, Kao LS, editors. Success in academic surgery. London: Springer; 2012. p. 169–80.Google Scholar
  5. Souba WW. Mentoring young academic surgeons, our most precious asset. J Surg Res. 1999;82:113–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Michigan Health SystemAnn ArborUSA

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