Welcome to Surgical mentor
Updated: Apr 6, 2022
Firstly thank you for visiting our website.
A few years ago a number of us surgeons were asked to mentor medical student through the University of Melbourne. Someone must have thought that we had some knowledge to share and that our careers, as glorified carpenters, was worthy of emulation. And so, with some trepidation, buoyed by our new found bigger heads, we accepted the offer and set out to meet our protégés.
We learnt a few things during our mentoring journey:
Mentor-mentee relationship: It is difficult to replicate the perfect organic mentor-mentee relationship. You will see eye-to-eye on a few things, and can trick your mentee into agreeing with you on a few other points, but you soon understand that not everything you say will hit home with ever mentee. You quickly realize that a mentee would benefit from differing view points from differing mentors.
Time, time, time: These days no one has time for anything. The pace at which this world runs means that it takes about an hour, to find half an hour, when you and your protégé are both free. A number of times one of us had to cancel as life got in the way. And God help anyone trying to get a student to meet prior to 8am! :)
COVID & Traffic: With COVID restrictions and traffic, it was often difficult to meet face-to-face. Restrictions would limit where you could meet, and traffic meant that only certain hours were possible. Our life revolves around avoiding traffic at all costs, one of the reasons we went into surgery I suspect.
Repetition: The other thing we found was that good advice would often need to be repeated annually, once your mentee outgrew you and you were introduced to a new one. And we all know how boring repetition can be (that's why we all end up doing the same 4 operations right?).
Diversity: Often a mentee would prefer a mentor with a similar background to themselves. This can be tricky with the small pool of mentors available; in surgery these tend to be mostly male, older, academic surgeons in tertiary hospitals. Mentees would sometimes prefer to hear from a rural surgeon, or female surgeon, or a younger surgeon, however it can be difficult linking up with and finding such individuals.
So...can we do mentoring better? We believe so, and hence the idea for this website was born. What we lack in time and attention, we can make up for in technology. We have the ability to meet and talk to almost anyone around the world using video conferencing, which opens up opportunities to learn from mentors around the world. Although we lack big blocks of time, many of us have space for small chunks. And that's all that is needed to give or take a bit of advice. Also we prefer to browse these days rather than being restricted to one avenue, and having a recorded interview meant that there was no need to repeat your message every time someone new came on the scene. And tell you what else is cool....Tik Tok...small snippets of video that only need to hold your attention for mere minutes rather than an hour that is required with the traditional mentorship model. And think of the money saved not having to shout coffee...
This website hopes to use modern technology to transform the mentorship model, to make it available and accessible to all, whilst expanding and diversifying the advice available to mentees. Hopefully, in time, we'll have something for everyone. We are not here to replace the traditional mentorship model, however to provide a service that is synergistic to it.
Hope it works. With your help, we think it can.