As a mentor, Dr. Brasington says he has an enormous sense of pride in knowing that he helped someone get to where they are today. “Often, my former fellows will email me and write, ‘On hospital rounds today, I said exactly what you told me. It was as if you were speaking.’”
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Explore This IssueJune 2016
Also By This Author
Karen Appold is a medical writer in Pennsylvania.
Reach Your Full Potential
Imagine the outcome of a plant growing in the wild vs. one being cared for by a farmer. Although a plant in the wild will take in whatever nutrients it can absorb, it’s limited by what is available and exposed to in an unpredictable environment. Now, consider the plant’s future if a farmer nurtures it by checking to ensure the soil and moisture are optimal for growth, provides extra nutrients when needed, prunes unproductive portions and protects it against illness or a harsh climate. “The latter plant will, of course, do better; invariably, so does the medical trainee with a mentor,” says Matthew J. Koster, MD, rheumatology resident and instructor in medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
Choose Your Own Path
“Trainees are often reluctant to identify long-term goals because choice entails loss,” says Philip Seo, MD, MHS, director of the Johns Hopkins Rheumatology Fellowship Program and director of the Johns Hopkins Vasculitis Center, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. “One cannot seize one opportunity without closing the door on another, but this is a good type of loss and is essential to developing a career. Choosing is good, because when one doesn’t choose, eventually choices are made for you.”
Key Qualities to Look for in a Mentor
Look for someone who:
- Shows interest in the mentee as a person;
- Makes time to meet regularly;
- Models respect and patience;
- Communicates efficiently and effectively; and
- Challenges those around them to learn and grow.