Through mentorship programs, experienced physicians can provide the guidance and reassurance that young doctors need
Young physicians, who are finishing up medical school or residency, are likely filled with questions, even anxiety, about their future career. What will their work schedule be? Should they pursue a fellowship? How will they balance their work and home life?
Through mentorship programs, experienced physicians can provide the guidance and reassurance that those young doctors need, says Lora Russo, membership program coordinator for the American College of Physicians (ACP).
“For a lot of our young members, [mentorship] is a huge networking opportunity,” says Russo. “They see them as a great resource of helping them with the next step whether it be a letter of recommendation or advice, this person can help open some doors for them.”
The ACP has an online mentorship database of practicing internists, program directors, and many other experienced physicians who volunteered for the program. Those interested in a mentor simply need to search the database using the criteria they’re looking for, whether it’s specialty, location or other areas of interest.
Rebecca Moore, director of membership development for ACP, says the reasons for wanting a mentor vary. She says some female physicians are looking for mentors to discuss issues unique to their gender, and many international medical graduates want to build a connection with physicians in certain locations.
Whether students are looking for life-long guidance or a one-time conversation, getting their questions answered by someone in the field can provide peace of mind.
“That personal relationship is what makes it different,” says Moore. “When you’re in an institution as a medical student, you may be hesitant to ask questions, so having a mentor who can speak from outside of the institution can have some benefits.”
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