Younger Surgeon Mentoring Program

Mentoring has been present within surgical training for many years, albeit in different forms. There is evidence to show that mentoring, within the field of medicine, can improve patient outcomes and facilitate learning and personal growth in the mentee. It also allows the mentees to develop their ethical decision making, which will continue to mature when practised daily.

The AOA Younger Surgeon Mentoring Program has been developed following extensive feedback from state branch chairs, AORA, the OWL Committee, the wider membership and the Board. While there are several mentoring programs available, the feedback received highlighted the need for an AOA-specific program that was optional and informal. As the Mentoring Program evolves there will be opportunities to reassess and refine the program.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a process whereby an experienced, highly regarded, empathic person (mentor), guides another usually younger individual (mentee) in the development and re-examination of their own ideas, learning and personal or professional development. Mutual trust, respect and communication are important elements for a successful mentoring relationship.

Through a mentoring program, mentees gain professional and personal development by having a role model and being able to work through issues in a non-threatening environment. Mentors are provided with an opportunity to share their experiences, give back to the profession, develop a greater understanding of other cultures, develop self-awareness and may be exposed to new surgical techniques and literature.

Aspects of mentoring include, but are not limited to:
  • Assisting in ethical decision making or in areas of life when people are facing choices
  • Career progression
  • Working relationships with colleagues
  • Providing advice on patient matters and surgical techniques
  • Academic development and research and scholarly projects

Mentoring resources

AOA has developed resources for mentors and mentees to ensure that the mentoring relationship benefits both parties. Mentors and mentees are encouraged to review the resources for both parties prior to commencing a mentoring relationship to develop an understanding of what is expected of from either side.

AOA has also sourced a range of online resources and further reading for mentors and mentees, to support those who are embarking on a mentoring relationship


  • Building the relationship – A guide on where the mentee and mentor establish trust and rapport and where they discuss expectations in the relationship 

  • Developing the Mentee – A guide on how the mentor can challenge and facilitate further thinking in the mentee

  • Transitioning the relationship – The final stage of the mentor process and where they transition from mentor and mentee to a new professional relationship

  • Mentoring: A Practical Guide – A summary of the above phases

  • AMA

    • AMA Victoria Doctors in Training (DiT) – This program aims to facilitate a safe and supportive environment for Doctors in Training to discuss career opportunities with more experienced doctors who can mentor them. 

    The BMJ

  • The importance of mentoring for junior doctors – Research on how increased support and education for trainees may lead to greater satisfaction with their training programme.

  • Other resources


    View a list of available mentors.

    If you'd like to serve as a mentor, please email Education Manager Elizabeth Burrell for further information.