Career Mentoring Surgical Trainees in a Competitive Marketplace

Career Mentoring in Surgery


  • David Cote University of Alberta
  • Amr Hamour University of Toronto



Medicine, Employment in Healthcare, Surgery, Otolaryngology, Mentorship


Resident trainees in Canadian Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery (OHNS) programs have cited job prospects as the biggest stressor they face. Increased numbers of residency training positions combined with decreased employment opportunities have worsened competition for surgical positions. The purpose of this inquiry was to explore gaps in resident career planning and examine how leadership can prepare graduating residents to optimize employability.

This mixed-methods prospective study was completed in two phases. A combination of online surveys and two focus group sessions were used to gather information from academic and clinical staff surgeons, resident trainees, and administrative leadership.

Eleven of the potential 12 resident participants responded to the initial survey, seven of the 13 staff surgeons, and one administrative leader. Each of the resident and staff focus groups had five participants. This comprehensive inquiry led to the development of a conceptual framework describing domains of concern important to OHNS residents. Themes included lack of career mentoring, complex systemic limitations, inadequacy of exposure to community-based surgical practice, and a potentially stifling organizational culture.

OHNS residents face significant stress regarding potential employability following residency. Solutions to address concerns must be collaborative in nature and begin with the existing leadership structure.


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How to Cite

Cote, D., & Hamour, A. (2022). Career Mentoring Surgical Trainees in a Competitive Marketplace: Career Mentoring in Surgery. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 21(2), 19–27.