Background: The reproducible benefits of mentoring to mentees have been studied extensively. However, insights from the mentor perspective are less well described. This study evaluates mentorship of plastic surgery medical students from the attending surgeon's perspective. A comparison is made with a previous publication evaluating mentorship from the medical student's perspective. Methods: An electronic survey was sent to 1025 active members of the American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons (ACAPS) and the American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS), with a combined response rate of 23 percent. For individual organizations, the response rate was 40 percent for ACAPS and 24 percent for AAPS. Results: Eighty-three percent of attending surgeons reported participation in medical student mentoring. Mentor demographics and preferences were defined. The majority of mentors are men, older than 50 years, with a clinically focused, academic practice. Although scheduled, one-on-one meetings were the most preferred form of interaction, mentors generally favored group activities. Mentors also preferred to meet less frequently and in less personalized formats than mentees. Mentors perceived enhanced job satisfaction and a sense of "giving back" as most important. The most common barriers included mentor time constraints and lack of exposure to medical students. The presence of plastic surgery involvement in the medical school curriculum correlated directly with the formation of mentoring relationships. Conclusions: By comparing the perspectives on mentoring between attending surgeons and medical students, discrepancies and similarities were identified. These findings can be used to increase efficacy and strengthen mentoring efforts for medical students in plastic surgery.
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