Paying it Forward

CEO: Systems-Based Practice

Objective: Identify and utilize professional role models as a means of growth and accept the responsibility of acting as a role model and teaching and training others

The mentor-mentee relationship is a special bond. It involves trust, dedication and hard work on both ends to ensure that the mentee has the best opportunities to succeed. I searched for someone I could call a mentor throughout medical school, and was fortunate enough to find the perfect one during my third year. Before I found him, there were others that I looked to for advice and knowledge, but they were not the mentor that I knew would be there for any question I had. I realized that I never had someone I could really call and trust as my mentor before. Not in undergrad or in medical school. So finally hitting the jackpot with someone who was invested in my success and was willing to help me out in any way was enlightening. He became my research mentor with whom I published a case report. My dutiful advisor as I navigated the residency application process. And a thoughtful voice as I formulated my rank list. I would not be here or have accomplished the things I have without his influence. But the most important thing he has imparted to me is the value of mentorship and the key principle of paying it forward.

I had the opportunity to mentor some junior medical students as I have progressed through my education. They came to me with some questions and I tried to answer them to the best of my ability. I provided advice and helpful hints along the way in the hopes that it would help them with whatever challenge they were facing next. But I realized that I was not doing enough as a mentor to them. In fact, I think that I had overstretched myself with having too many mentees. So the first learning point I had regarding being a good mentor was to not take too many students under my wing, because I would not be able to give them my 100% effort. I made a promise to myself that I would strive to be the type of mentor that I had. One that was there for all my panicked emails with a prompt response that reassured me that everything was going to work out.

My first opportunity to try and become the mentor I was striving to be came when a third year medical student interested in anesthesiology asked for my advice and help. I kept my mentors words in mind about paying it forward. And to my delight, it seems like she feels exactly the way I did when I found my mentor. My only hope is that I can be half the mentor that I am trying to become. To have my mentee feel like she can trust me and my advice. That she can look to me when she has frantic questions and I can provide the prompt response that she needs. That way, I can follow in the foot steps of my mentor. By paying it forward. And hopefully, my mentee will do the same when they become a mentor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *