Cultivating a relationship with a physician mentor can enrich your medical school experience and your clinician career. Receiving guidance from someone more experienced can help you navigate away from career pitfalls and into wise choices. They can even connect you with new and exciting opportunities to propel your career to the next level.
The biggest question lies in how to find a mentor that’s a good match. Whether you’re newly graduated or still in medical school, there are a couple of steps you can take to find a great mentor.
#1: Build Relationships
Whether you’re interning or volunteering in a medical setting, form connections with people in medicine. Stay in touch with people you encounter in medical school. Professors, researchers, advisors, and health professionals (that aren’t physicians) can be great assets. If you’re a budding medical student, build bridges with residents and more experienced medical students. Your connections can put you in touch with physicians, sometimes unexpectedly.
#2: Take Initiative
Be active in seeking out opportunities and people. Take note of people that have mentored your fellow classmates. Research physicians in the practice area you’re interested in. Reach out to them and ask questions that aren’t easily answered by Google. Set up coffee or lunch meetings with physicians so you can ask about their practice area and career path. Be proactive in attending your school’s career fairs and alumni networking events, too.
#3: Stay Open to Opportunities
Opportunity can come knocking unexpectedly. In class or school, you might come across speakers or presenters that interest you. If you attend a presentation on an interesting research project, jot down the presenter’s information and connect afterwards. Guest speakers might give talks on topics you have questions about. Reach out to them and show interest in their work.
#4: Shadow Physicians
Shadowing involves following a physician around for a day or so to see what a typical workday is like for them. While you likely won’t enjoy every practice area you come across, you’re bound to find one that interests you. Keep in touch with physicians in your preferred areas of practice. Similarly, keep track of those you had good shadowing experiences with. This opportunity can lend itself to a longer relationship.
#5: Join Professional Organizations
Join organizations and societies for medicine and for your specific practice area. Find interest groups for topics that interest you, like emergency medicine. These groups often have databases and directories where you can find contact information for other medical professionals. Some organizations even have mentor databases for you to search through. Use these to your advantage.
Ready to Work with a Physician Mentor?
A physician mentor is there to help you navigate your doubts, guide you through career choices, and advise you on tough cases. Experienced physicians have been in your shoes — that’s why their expertise is invaluable.
Looking for a seasoned physician mentor? Someone to unlock your potential and make you a stronger physician leader? Let’s set up a meeting so we can discuss your career in medicine.