Maintaining Humanistic Values of Caring During Orthopaedic Surgical Residency Through Effective Mentors


Patricia Bush

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Curriculum and Instruction

Date of Award

Spring 2016


The training environment for physicians is suspected to have negative effects on humanism for some trainees that can adversely impact their future work and patient relationships (Coulehan & Williams, 2001). Professionalism is believed to be passed on during this time through a combination of mentoring, role-modeling, and faculty evaluations of resident behavior that are required for training program accreditation (Stephenson, Adshead, & Higgs, 2006). Although much has been written on mentoring for developing professional behavior in young physicians in other literature, there is little research on how mentoring helps young physicians in-training maintain their humanistic values during the rigors of training in Orthopaedic surgery, a highly technical, predominately male (95.9% in 2012), surgical specialty (Moore & Oreluk, 2014). The researcher used grounded theory research methods to conduct this study. Corbin and Strauss (2007) developed these methods to generate systematically rich qualitative data in order to understand complex processes and relationships in various settings. Theoretical sampling that resulted from each iteration of interviews and data analysis was used to identify appropriate individuals for face-to-face interviews. As elements of a theory grounded in the data were identified, and then finally saturation was achieved, a theory of how caring could be maintained through effective mentors was developed so that the direction of future refinements to Orthopaedic training programs could be determined. The researcher aimed to (a) search for evidence of humanistic mentoring by orthopaedists in order to create a mentorship model, (b) determine how past generations of surgeons, with the help of good of mentoring practices, contributed to this, and (c) look for evidence that future generations of orthopaedic surgeons will be likely to pass on the humanism and caring that they receive from current mentors. This goal was met by conducting interviews with Orthopaedic surgeons from a variety of Orthopaedic subspecialties (Trauma, Sports, Spine, Hand, Pediatrics, Oncology, etc.), in a variety of practice settings, in two states, and with members of several generations and both genders. At the conclusion of each interview, continuous analysis by the researcher contributed to the emerging theory, building on the groundwork from the previous interview. The study was complete when the results of the final interview revealed no new data that the researcher could add to the theory.


Joyce A. Scott

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education