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November 17, 2008

Idealized Mentoring and Role Modeling in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Training

Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2008;10(6):421-426. doi:10.1001/archfaci.10.6.421

The faculty residency educator and the fellowship director of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery training have many responsibilities. One must, above all, be responsible for the safe care of the patient, adequate informed consent, thorough and proper preoperative planning after selection of the surgical candidate, proper performance of the surgical procedure(s), and comprehensive postoperative care. These represent the fundamentals of patient care in any surgical field, although surgery on the face, head, and neck is particularly complex because of the importance of these structures, both functionally and esthetically. As if these clinical responsibilities were not enough, the educator must address and impart to the trainee the vital aspects of compassion, communication, professionalism, and patient care ethics. This Commentary will attempt to formulate the ideal attributes for mentors and suggest past and current educators who exhibit these characteristics by example. There are many excellent mentors in our subspecialty, so these individuals are but representative of many excellent examples in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. While it is admitted that no one person represents the “idealized” mentor and role model in our subspecialty, many individuals give us encouragement to improve ourselves as role models and mentors through their words and deeds.