Education Leadership Conference (ELC)

Document Type





Purpose/Hypothesis: Mentoring is a required component of physical therapy residency and fellowship training, and a primary reason applicants pursue training in these programs. Resources outlining core competencies for effective mentoring, mentor and mentee characteristics, and recommendations for effective mentoring have been described. However, little is known about the timing, structure, and process of how mentoring and feedback is implemented across residency and fellowship programs. The purpose of this study was to better understand the structure, timing, and delivery of mentoring and the role mentors and program directors (PDs) play in orthopaedic physical therapy residency and fellowship programs. A secondary purpose was to identify the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on mentoring delivery. Number of Subjects: A survey was sent to 135 accredited orthopaedic physical therapy residency and fellowship program directors Materials and Methods: A practice committee of the Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Orthopaedic Residency and Fellowship Special Interest Group developed survey questions. Forty-eight questions about program background, mentoring logistics, structure, delivery, transitions, training, selection, feedback, communication, mentor roles, and impacts of COVID-19 on mentoring were asked. Questions were entered into a secure Red Cap survey and a recruitment email with survey link was sent to PDs from accredited programs on three separate occasions over two months. Descriptive statistics and survey responses were analyzed. Results: PDs submitted 32 surveys (23.7% response rate), had 15.9 (8.5) years’ experience as a physical therapist and a mean program involvement of 6.3 (3.2) years. Programs most often schedule 1:1 mentoring weekly (63%) or several days/week (25.9%); most often in four hour blocks (44.4%) for a mean of 157.6 (60.3) hours. Mentee feedback was delivered before, during, or after the mentoring session verbally 92.3%, and feedback was shared with the resident in front of the patient often 26.9%, sometimes 61.5% and rarely 11.5%. Mentoring was delivered 100% in-person by programs and virtually by 42.3%. Mentor and mentee paired assignments varied with 65.4% assigning more than one mentor. Most programs (84.6%) do not have a career development ladder for mentors. The COVID-19 pandemic influenced mentoring delivery with 53.8% using increased virtual mentoring, 19.2% using increased asynchronous mentoring, and 42.3% decreasing mentoring hours during the pandemic. Conclusions: Orthopaedic physical therapy residency and fellowship mentoring is delivered using a variety of methods, and mentors and program directors cross-cover multiple positions in residency and fellowship programs. Identifying the structure and delivery of mentoring commonly used in residency and fellowship programs provides baseline data to better understand optimal mentoring approaches and influence of mentoring structure on resident and fellowship outcomes.