Scientific Article|Articles in Press

Evaluating the Role of Mentorship in Career Advancement: A Survey of Women in Academic Hand Surgery

Published:February 23, 2023DOI:


      Despite the increasing percentage of women within the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, women remain underrepresented within leadership in academic hand surgery. Although this disparity in leadership representation may be improving, we aimed to investigate the role mentorship plays in advancing women in academic hand surgery.


      This is a survey-based, mixed-methods study. A written survey assessing themes in personal and professional experiences with mentorship was sent to hand fellowship-trained women. Inclusion criteria were the completion of a hand fellowship and current affiliation with an academic institution. An evolved grounded theory framework was used to evaluate the responses. Themes were identified based on common responses.


      Of 186 eligible participants, 144 (85.2%) received the survey. The response rate was 48.6%. Respondents indicated that residency was the stage at which mentorship was most impactful (n = 25, 37%), and half of the respondents identified their desire to work in academic hand surgery during residency (n = 35, 50%). Obstacles to finding a mentor included lack of availability (n = 46, 67.7%), hesitance in searching for a mentor (n = 16, 23.5%), and searching for a mentor within an environment that was not conducive to success for trainees (n = 7, 10.3%). Most (84%) cited instances were the ones having the advice of a woman mentor was more impactful than that of a mentor who is a man. The reported need for same-sex mentorship fell into three categories: (1) insight into shared experiences, (2) assistance with conflict/bias management, and (3) support during career navigation.


      The findings of this study demonstrate the need for high-quality mentorship during the residency with a specific emphasis on same-sex mentorship.

      Clinical relevance

      Our findings provide clear objectives related to improving access to and quality of mentorship. This foundational understanding will enrich mentor-mentee relationships, allowing for greater personal and professional success and satisfaction for both parties.

      Key words

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