A bright, young anesthesiologist begins his first job. In the first few months he struggles with challenging cases that result in presentations at the quality improvement conference. Although standard of care was upheld, areas of improvement are identified. Most important, he failed to ask for advice or call for help when struggling.

How could this have happened? He was trained in the team approach to care, knew his colleagues as teachers and advisors, and yet was reluctant to approach anyone for advice. He equated graduating with independence and was concerned people would question his capability. Our suspicion is this happens more often than it should. Imagine if, on day one, someone had said, “You’re not alone. Ask me anything, any-time, any question.” In other words, what if he had a mentor?

The word “mentor” originates from Homer’s Odyssey,...

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