Introduction: E-mentoring uses electronic communications to build and maintain a mentoring relationship. A previous study found E-mentoring to be beneficial to surgical trainees when delivered by a single E-mentor. This study aimed to see if these benefits persisted within a larger network of surgical E-mentors.
Methods: Surgical ST1 to ST3 trainees (E-mentees) and E-mentors were recruited in 2007. The study ran over one year with five questionnaires prompting discussions of a range of issues. At study end, a feedback questionnaire was sent via an independent third party.
Results: Twenty three E-mentees were recruited, 16 (70%) were male, median age was 28 (IQR 2). Fifty four surgical E-mentors volunteered, the majority being Specialist Registrars (n = 52; 96%).
E-mentees found the process to be very useful in identifying the good and bad points of their jobs. E-mentoring was not useful for improving academic knowledge, operative skills or clinical management.
Conclusions: This study shows that E-mentoring is beneficial to surgical trainees who are engaged in the process. The process encourages reflection and was a useful source of advice but there remains areas where its scope is limited.
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