Shadowing a DoctorOctober 30, 2014
Regardless of what stage you are at in your medical career, having a mentor is vital to being able to achieve your career goals. While some establishments have formal mentoring programmes in place and will automatically assign you a mentor, other organisations expect you to find one on your own. Several studies that have been done have shown that finding your own mentor will actually accord you a better experience. If you find yourself in a position where you have to look for a mentor on your own, here are a few tips that will help you identify the best person who will guide you and help you achieve your career goals.
Determine what it is you want from your mentor
For some students, having someone who they will feel relaxed with and can open up to and ask all kinds of questions is most important. Other students may look for someone who is highly respected in the field so that they can build a network, even if it means that the mentor is not as approachable as the rest. Think about what is more important for you.
Think about what you are hoping to gain from this experience
Firstly, you must think about what you hope to gain from this experience. Do you want someone who will help with your career? Are you looking for personal growth? Different individuals are strong in different sections of the medical field. Figuring out your needs first will help you find somebody who will fulfil these needs.
Identify which areas you need help in
Before choosing a mentor, make a list of all your strengths and weaknesses as well as what you want to improve on and what kind of medical professional you want to become. If you are a shy person, look for someone who is friendly and will encourage you to come out of your shell and become more confident. A mentor should be someone who helps you develop qualities that will mould you into the kind of professional you want to be.
What are your options?
You cannot hope to get your dream mentor if the person doesn’t exist. Before you get your hopes too high, find out which individuals from your list will be available during the time that you will need them. This list needs to be crosschecked with the qualities that you want in the mentor. Once you come up with the best match, you will need to get in touch with that person and see if they will be willing to mentor you. Don’t take it for granted that your top choice will definitely agree to be your mentor. If they have some other commitments, they may not be available during that time.
Once you find your mentor, it is important to have respect for their time and follow through diligently with all the advice they give you. Mentors are usually busy individuals with limited time. They only agree to do this because of their commitment to the cause, so respect this and make the most of the time they spend with you. Respect all ideas and suggestions they give you and consider them carefully. Try to build a good rapport with them so that they get to know you better and respect you too.