Mentors and Why You Need Them #illumedati 1


Hi everyone, it’s Medicine Mondays again. Today is going to be a short post about Mentors and Why You Need Them.

Stock Photo from: Pixabay

What do you mean by “mentors”?

A long time ago, the mentor-protegé relationship was usually very restricted. For example, a classic mentor-protegé relationship would be Socrates, who taught Plato, who taught Aristotle. However, I think it was more of a master-apprentice relationship.

However, a long time ago, people were born, lived, and died within a short distance. From my understanding, people did not have the ability (or means) to travel very far. As such, if you grew up in an area without a master to apprentice yourself to, then you were just unlucky.

The world is very different now. You don’t even have to move from your couch to connect with people across the globe just by using your smartphone through Twitter or Facebook, or whatever. As such, the idea of a mentor has changed somewhat.


So what’s your point?

Well, I believe that the world has moved away from having a single mentor. This is understandable when you think about it. With such easy access to so many experts, there is really no need to restrict yourself to one mentor. Your mentors don’t even need to agree with each other. What you choose to learn is up to you.


Ok… so why is this a Medicine Mondays post?

Well, for the first two years of medical school, you have your nose stuck in books trying learn as much as possible study, pass, and do well on Step 1. Then you are thrown into different rotations for a few weeks at a time and trying to get something to stick…

How do you find a Mentor or Mentors?

It’s not easy… but it should be.

From my understanding, some schools are starting to assign medical students a faculty advisor who would serve as their mentor of sorts. However, you can’t really be assigned a mentor, just like you can’t be assigned a friend, or assigned a spouse.


Ok, so now then what?

A “mentor” is a very flexible term nowadays. You can find mentorship everywhere, you just have to keep an open mind. For example, I considered a few of my senior residents in residency as “mentors” of sorts because I tried to emulate what they did, in terms of study habits, taking cases, etc.

In terms of my attendings, there was no one attending that I agreed with 100% of the time. However, I agreed with different attendings on different things. As such, I kind of “created a mentor” out of multiple different attendings. This “mentor” was a conglomeration of different aspects of different attendings. This is what I mean when I say that “mentor” is a more flexible term.


I’m confused, so no “one mentor” exists anymore?

No, there are many who are lucky enough to find one person who they really click with. In a mentor-protegé relationship, the mentor is able to elevate the protegé to new heights. Whereas the protegé keeps the mentor aware of whatever new is going on, and keeps them “young”. In academia this is especially common when the research interests of two people align. However, this relationship is more common than we think.

What I’m saying is that with all the connectivity available to us nowadays, this relationship is everywhere. In fact, you may consider people mentors that don’t even know.


I just reread this post and it sounds convoluted and disjointed. This sounded so much better in my head. Maybe I need coffee.

I guess what I am trying to say is:

Mentorship isn’t dead, it’s just different because it’s everywhere

 

-Sensei

Agree? Disagree? Questions, Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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About Sensei

A young attending physician trying to navigate the mine field that is life after medical school…


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