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Surgical Reminiscence
August 1, 2004

The Art of Mentoring

Arch Surg. 2004;139(8):909-910. doi:10.1001/archsurg.139.8.909

For those who are not classical scholars of Greek mythology, Mentor was a character in the ancient Greek epic poem The Odyssey and a trusted friend and adviser of great responsibility for the central character, Odysseus. This colleague of great integrity and loyalty was responsible for the principal rearing (mentoring) of Odysseus' son, Telemachus, in the 10-year interval following the fall of Troy. Today, the word mentor is the principal descriptive noun of a trusted individual who provides professional or personal advice to a relative, friend, or colleague in the vastitudes of the professions of life. The relationship between Telemachus and Mentor in this epic composition accredited to Homer is analogous to the vigilant process of the transfer of knowledge from surgical educators to their trainees (mentees). It is the relationship between Lester Reynold Dragstedt (1893-1975) and Edward Roy Woodward (1916-1996) that I share as a personal reminiscence with the ARCHIVES readership.