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What I Learned from a Mentor That I Didn't Learn on Campus

posted Apr 21, 2015, 7:46 AM by Explore More   [ updated Jun 4, 2015, 9:01 AM ]
When you are in osteopathic medical school, you learn about the clinical aspects of becoming a physician. In some instances, you will be taught various professional issues as well. That knowledge is critical to your development, but it will not completely prepare you for the full realities of becoming a doctor.
That's where your mentors come in. Not only do mentors act as career cheerleaders for you and general guides, they level with you about the details of practice that you might not think are important until you are actually doing the job on a day-to-day basis.

Here’s what mentors can teach you that you couldn’t learn at school:

1. Get involved: Your mentor will tell you how to become involved as a physician beyond the practice of medicine. You learn how to be a doctor in medical school, but mentors teach you that a well-rounded physician means you are also engaged on state and national advocacy levels.

2. Life/Work Balance: As a physician, you will be pulled in many different directions for your time. Your mentors can explain to you how they manage their personal and professional life. For some physicians, it’s important to attend national specialty conventions simply to meet other physicians who are facing the same challenges.

3. Be Professional: Your mentor can tell you about the importance of keeping your temper at all times. Being a physician will be very stressful at times, dealing with difficult patients and staff. Talking to mentors about how they kept their cool under fire will help you when you are faced with similar situations.

4. Communicate: Many people think they have been clear only to find out that others didn’t understand them in the first place. As a doctor, it’s extremely important to understand varying ways people communicate, especially with patients who don’t have your same level of medical knowledge. You will pick up a lot of modeling behaviors by observing your mentors as they work with patients. You’ll learn how they convey information, using gestures and nonverbal communication.