physician mentor talking to student

What Is a Physician Mentor and Why Do I Need One? Answers to Common Questions

Every aspiring clinician needs a physician mentor. Building a relationship with a mentor, someone who can offer advice pertaining to all facets of life as a doctor, not only leads to a more successful career—it also leads to a more satisfying one.

Many of the medical schools and residency programs out there require students to find a mentor. But the relationship you build with your mentor should last well past medical school (and if it doesn’t, you need to find someone else to fill this role).

What Is a Mentor?

First, let’s answer the obvious question. A physician mentor is someone who has been where you are now. They share your professional and research interests and can offer you guidance on subjects ranging from how to approach a certain professional obstacle to how to cope with the stress of being a clinician.

In medicine, it is essential to form a bond with someone who is farther along in their career trajectory than you are. Your mentor should be someone who is doing what you want to do and doing it successfully.

Why Do I Need One?

People who choose to go into medicine share several qualities. They are driven. They want to help others in a meaningful way. While admirable, these qualities on their own are not enough to see someone through medical school and into a rewarding career. A mentor can help you develop discipline through accountability and support you when you struggle.

When you are deciding on your career path in medicine, having a physician mentor there to guide you through the process can mean the difference between choosing well and choosing poorly.

How Do I Find Someone to Mentor Me?

You won’t get help unless you ask. The best way to find someone to mentor you is to approach them with candor. Be transparent in what you expect to get from the relationship and what you will bring to the table. If the physician you choose as a mentor has limited availability, you can consider asking two or more people in your field to serve as mentors.

No doubt you have already cultivated relationships in your medical program with your teachers and advisors. Going to the people you trust and respect most in your community is a good way to start looking for a mentor.

Ready to Build a Relationship with Your Physician Mentor?

When you go into medicine, you need someone to look up to, someone who can steer you in the right direction when you have doubts. To be clear, a career as a clinician is full of doubt. Building a solid relationship with someone who has been where you are now is essential if you want to succeed.

Are you ready to start working with a mentor today? Let’s schedule a meeting so we can discuss the goals you have for your career in medicine.