When I was in growing up looking at a career in Medicine, I had no family or friends who could give me an insight into the job of a physician. Most of my ideas of being a doctor were informed by books and the media. Thank goodness as I entered college, Med School and residencies I was gifted many fabulous mentors who have made my entrance into this career much easier. The father of one of my best friends in college happened to be the associate Dean of my Medical School. I remember fondly going into his office during some particularly difficult classes for peptalks and later visiting him in Seattle once I had completed my residencies to discuss interesting cases (the later visits while he himself was dying of metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma. Powerful memories.) Also on my journey I have had several fabulous mentors in the fields of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine. One particular superstar, Dr. Wilson was known during my ER Residency for taking you out to the ambulance bay for a “talk” when she felt you needed extra education. (I am so grateful in retrospect, as scary as these talks were for this direct approach in teaching.) Dr. Wilson throws a huge celebration every year in honor of all the graduating women ER residents from my residency. When I first started, women were few and far between and it was particularly nice to have these annual get togethers to discuss unique issues we faced as women doctors. (How do you manage childcare with an erratic ER doctor’s schedule? How do you pump during a busy shift if you are still breast feeding your baby? How do you deal with difficult consultants? etc.) Although women in Emergency Medicine are much more prevalent these days, our annual celebration is still a highlight of my year. I get to reconnect with old friends, network with other doctors and get advice from some of my long term mentors. The pictures are from some of our previous events.
This weekend I was fortunate to both get an invitation for our annual ER get together as well as talk with a preMed college student to discuss her interest in Medicine. This summer she is hoping to shadow me in the ER a bit. Having benefited from these amazing mentors I have made becoming a mentor one of my 2014 goals. Not only do I want to help future doctors, I also want to help young people learn the disappearing skills of knitting and sewing (hobbies that are very meditative for me and ironically perfect contrasts to my job).
So tell me, have you benefited from special mentors along the way? Are you mentoring other people right now? I would love to hear your stories.