How to get a mentor?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Chinorean, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. Chinorean

    Chinorean Senior Member

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    This is something that has been troubling me for some time--I've heard that it's really important to get good mentors during medical school, but no one says how to do that. Some schools have mentorship programs, but what if you are interested in someone who isn't part of a program and isn't your professor? Do you just arrange a meeting with them and ask them point blank to be your mentor? Or if you arrange several meetings, is it assumed that you have a mentorship relationship?

    Also, are there unspoken rules about who can be a mentor--for example, don't bother asking someone who is famous in their field and busy with residents?
     
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  3. Watch Scrubs seasons 1-5 for JD's relationship to Dr. Cox - it'll give you all the information you need about developing a mentorship. :)
     
  4. sentrosi

    sentrosi INTARWEB USER

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    Haha. I was planning to post that upon reading the thread title.
     
  5. Chinorean

    Chinorean Senior Member

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    Hardy har har...except I believe he wasn't a medical student at the time...anyways, someone told me there's no such thing as picking a mentor, they pick you once they deem you worthy...so I guess you just have to put yourself out there and hope someone notices.
     
  6. sentrosi

    sentrosi INTARWEB USER

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    You still choose them to some degree. It's not a one way thing...it can't be by definition. They can't just force you to be a mentee and they can't mentor/help you if you don't make the effort to be there.

    Unless there is a mentorship program, there's no step by step process for finding a mentor. Even with an pairing by a mentorship program, it doesn't always work. This is a process that is different for every mentor/mentee. You can't just do certain things and poof, out pops a mentor. There's no hard and fast rules. Busy people still might mentor people if the match is right. And why wouldn't famous people want to mentor someone? They won't mentor everyone that ask...but I'm sure they still have or could have some mentees. Being famous doesn't necessarily mean they will be a good mentor for you personally.


    Who cares if Scrubs is residency and not med school? Similar principles apply. Don't be so rigid.
     
  7. SuferMD

    SuferMD Member

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    Season 5 is out??
     
  8. Season 5 took place from about January to June of 2006, I believe. If you're talking about DVDs, only 1-3 are out.
     
  9. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist

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    Find someone who seems to be well-regarded by students (and faculty, although it's hard to tell that sometimes), and go ask them for suggestions. They don't have to be in the field you plan to go into, they just have to like helping students and be interested in your welfare enough that they'll truly help you decide what specialty is best for you, rather than just trying to recruit you into theirs (although it's a compliment if they do). You never know--the person you ask for suggestions may just volunteer themselves. So be careful who you ask. ;)
     
  10. Paws

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    Samoa, I am going to eat that big cookie!!

    I have been looking for a mentor and did it by trying to shadow as many people as I possibly could. Some people were really awesome, and at least now I have made a good professional contact. Some people were not so hot, but then at least I learned who to avoid, and it was only four hours of my life with them.

    I did like one woman physician and thought I could learn ALOT from her. She was great! But, she is also really busy and so maybe not a mentor relationship but at least it was the start of a good professional relationship. I may never find an official mentor, and so I guess I can settle for alot of decent professional relationships with good people.
     
  11. oldbearprofessor

    Administrator Rocket Scientist Physician Faculty SDN Advisor

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    This is generally sound advice. At the medical student level, you're looking to talk to a range of faculty in different areas, not just identify one person who will guide your career or write you the letter of rec for residency. In academic medicine, that type of serious 1:1 mentoring relationship is established in fellowship or even after starting as an attending. One thing I always tell people who ask me about this is to look for people who are interested in what your long-term goals are. Sometimes this isn't the person who is the same gender, ethnicity, etc that you are, but someone who is willing to listen to your whole story, not the Reader's Digest version that is part of the usual faculty-student exchange on the wards.

    When you do talk to faculty, this is the time to really focus on long-term goals for your life and career. So, it is helpful to talk to people that you feel comfortable with sharing some of the details of your family life and plans that you might not tell your attending on the rotation that month.

    Don't be discouraged if you talk to a few faculty and don't get the kind of guidance you're looking for. There is no training for mentors and it is a difficult skill that some folks never master, just as some folks never feel comfortable putting themselves in someone elses shoes. So, just move on until you find attendings to talk to that are giving you useful advice and doing it in a way with which you feel comfortable. In the process of explaining yourself to these people, you'll get a lot of insight into your career as well.

    Good luck - it is well worth the trouble to try to find faculty who can serve this early mentoring role.

    OBP
     

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