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clinical faculty advisor -- how important is he/she?

Discussion in 'Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties' started by Vincristine, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. Vincristine

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    I've never been one to be buddy-buddy with my advisor (in undergrad and now in medical school), but now I'm starting to rethink that. Obviously people have their own needs and style, but how hugely important is my faculty clinical advisor? My current advisor is a higher-up EM Doc and Vice President of the Hospital Foundation. My only meeting with him was to sign my M4 schedule. I thought we'd talk about it and me a bit, but it was quite short. He was a nice enough guy, but I don't know if he took the fact that we had never met before as an indication that I wasn't looking for someone to have lunch with every couple of months. He signed my form without really even reading it and sent me on my way.

    I was on an EM path before I found surgery, and once I decided on surgery I wondered if I should change advisors. I talked with the folks here, and since my current advisor is really part of the surgical advising faculty, I should be fine. In a month I'll be doing my surgical subI with the department head who already knows who I am and finalized my fabulous surgery clerkship grade based on my oral exam and case presentation with him. (My school is quite small, as well.) Since I have this interaction, is it all that necessary to offically change my clinical faculty advisor?

    What do other people get from their advisors besides having the necessary forms signed?
     
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  3. Hmmm...interesting dilemma. My school assigned an advisor for the first 3 years (mine happened to be an endocrinologist), then a "specialty advisor" for the last year (for me, a surgeon). He's also the department chair here. So during an hour-long meeting with him, he looked over my fourth-year schedule, as well as my CV and surgery rotation grades. We talked about applying to residency, different hospital programs (especially community vs. academic vs. private), the personal statement, interviewing, geographic locations, the Match, among other topics.

    For me, that was all extremely helpful. I don't know how much you've talked to your EM advisor about this kind of stuff, but is it an option at least have a second advisor or someone else you can talk to? Someone who's in surgery?

    Or am I just naive, and you already have all your questions answered? You sure answer a lot of my questions over in the Surgery forum. :)
     
  4. RedBlanket

    RedBlanket Hi everybody!
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    I found my advisor most useful in discussing residency programs. Pick a younger, academically active, surgery attending who can give you half and hour or so of their time and pick their brains. Let them know what you want in a residency and get suggestions, feedback on your application, etc...

    Ideally pick them early 3rd year when you are positive you want to do surgery so they can get to know you for letters purposes, through you some research bones if you are so inclined, etc.
     
  5. Vincristine

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    Blade: Well it's interesting to find that you didn't even have an advisor in your "field" until now anyway. That doesn't put me too far behind in that sense (as for never meeting my advisor until two months ago). Since our program is so small (only 30 students graduate from my site annually) , our student affairs people work intimately with us on our CV's, personal statements, and applications....

    Red: thanks for the thoughts. However, we have no young academically active surgery faculty, I'm 2 months away from starting M4, and hadn't realized my call to surgery until last month........
     
  6. aboo-ali-sina

    aboo-ali-sina Member
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    the fact that you have a relationship with your surgery dept chair is sufficient. He does not need to have the official title of being your advisor to offer you help and guidance. You should meet with him to discuss both your M4 schedule and your residency strategy. You can keep the EM guy as your official advisor just in case you ever need anything from him. Since you don't have a relationship with him, letting him keep the title of advisor will give you an excuse to get help from him should you ever need it.


    good luck....
     
  7. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    Your faculty advisor may be able to make some phone calls for you that might get you an interview at your dream shot. Take a list of the residencies that you are interested in applying to and make an appointment to discuss your career plans. This is the time to do some meaningful interaction; if for nothing else than as courtesy. When residency application comes along, you never know where you are going to pick up "good will" or a "good word" that makes the difference between a match at your first choice or second choice.
    Good luck!
    njbmd :cool:
     
  8. Our program isn't THAT much bigger (around 60 students). :)

    As long as you're getting all the guidance you need regarding your CV, personal statement, residency apps, etc., you should be golden!
     
  9. Vincristine

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    Thanks for all the input. I know my department chair will be more than happy to chat with me about programs and the like even if he's not officially my advisor. So right now, I'm going to keep my current advisor since it means there will be someone else to get opinions from and what not.
    Thanks again!
     
  10. Ah, that sounds good. Current advisor + department chair is the way to go. That's what I'm doing! :thumbup:
     
  11. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    You can never have too many faculty advisors--unless they start arguing with each other over you. Then maybe you should cut back... :D

    Seriously, though, different people have different perspectives, and it's a good idea to get a lot of different opinions before making up your mind on things that will to a large extent determine the course of your life.
     
  12. supercut

    supercut Senior Member
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    My school didn't assign us facutly advisors at all. There was a very loose "mentoring" program, but usually it was very difficult to meed with your mentor and typically most people were lucky to get 2-3 meetings in the first year. It always fizzled out after that.

    However, most faculty/chairs/PDs were more than willing to meet with any student intersted in their field.

    For surgery, if you expressed an interest, you were stongly advised to meet with the PD of our surgery program. Then, early in the 4th year, you meet him again, bringing your transcript, board scores and a list of programs you are considering applying to. He would then give you some very good advice (eg tell you if you are shooting too high or too low, if he thought the programs on your list were strong or weak). Any faculty member was also willing to talk to interested student about surgical career, program opinions, etc.

    So you don't need an offical advisor for the applciation process.
     
  13. mary

    mary Member
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    Hi keraven!

    My 2 cents from UIUC- my CFA had nothing to do with my application. After gettin those forms signed I haven't even spoken w/ her (been too busy, not ignoring her). Don't sweat it at all. also, she is in the field I matched in. I agree w/ your tactics of just keeping who you have.
    Good luck and take care!
    Mary
     

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