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February 2007

Mentoring and Mentors: Can We Do Enough?

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007;133(2):109. doi:10.1001/archotol.133.2.109

Although familiarity does not always breed contempt, it certainly can lead to complacency. Take two of the most widely used instruments in our daily tasks: the Bovie cautery and the anesthesia record. Few remember that it was Harvey Cushing, the father of modern neurosurgery, who was responsible in the early 20th century for introducing these instruments to the surgeon's toolbox.1 Fewer still recall that he also promulgated the importance of mentoring promising residents and serving as role models to future surgical leaders. Our current emphasis on downloadable “get it now” technology renders it too easy to forget our own immediate past and our own role models and mentors, who needn't have been of Cushing's stature to have nurtured us and given shape to our daily lives.