Countless renowned medical experts agree that mentorship is an essential part of becoming the best physician one can be. Neil R. Sharma MD is a long-time physician who has fulfilled the roles of mentor and mentee. He recently discussed why physician mentorship is essential in the medical field.
“Ask a doctor with a successful career, and they’ll likely give some of the credit to their mentor,” Dr. Sharma said.
“Mentors help new physicians fulfill their goals through invaluable advice, a listening ear, assistance in decision-making, and so much more.”
Assistance Facing Modern Difficulties in the Medical Field
Dr. Sharma started by stating that the medical training environment is constantly changing. Right now, trainees face overwhelming patient volumes and demanding work schedules. A mentor can guide a new physician in the methods they’ve learned for balancing work and life to avoid burnout.
“Mentors have been through many of the challenges new physicians are facing, and they’ve developed ways to maintain perspective and balance,” Neil R. Sharma MD said.
“Research shows that physicians with mentors experience less burnout, are more productive, and make well-informed career decisions. They have a superior sense of well-being when compared to physicians without mentors.”
Real Professional Development
Dr. Sharma explained that professional development in the medical field requires mentoring. Mentors play key roles in helping physicians set and achieve career goals. They can point young physicians to certain objectives they may not otherwise seek to achieve. In addition to pointing them in the right direction, they provide the encouragement necessary for them to reach success.
Additionally, through sponsorship, a mentor can open doors or research, participation in educational endeavors, help in training in novel procedures or technologies, and opening doors to leadership opportunities for mentees.
“Many new physicians find themselves pursuing short-sighted goals that offer less reward,” Dr. Sharma said. “A mentor helps their mentee pursue the best objectives for their career and personal needs. Look around, and you’ll see physicians with mentors advancing drastically faster than those without.”
Mentors Help Improve Confidence
Physicians have already completed college, medical school, internships, and residency, but they can still feel inadequate when entering their professional role outside of training. A mentor can provide greater confidence by helping the mentee network, providing problem-solving advice, and reaffirming correct actions.
The mentee’s relationship with the mentor can help them develop respect within the workplace, and that respect can lead to superior confidence and better care.
Mentorship Improves Employee Retention
Mentorship isn’t just advantageous for physicians, it’s beneficial to the entire healthcare industry. Research shows that millennials are more likely to stay at their job for more than five years if they have the guidance of a mentor. The nursing industry has a 25 percent higher retention rate among nurses that have a mentor.
Nurse and physician shortages are global concerns, and mentorship programs are one way to help combat this issue.
Mentorships Are Mutually Beneficial
The benefits of mentorship aren’t only for the mentee. Eighty-seven percent of mentors state they feel empowered by mentoring relationships and enjoy greater confidence at work and in life.
“Mentoring another physician allows you to expand your medical impact,” Dr. Sharma said. “Mentors can expand their impact on patient care and the field while retaining critical medical skills, gaining new perspectives, and connecting with new generations of physicians and their needs.”
Neil R. Sharma MD Explains How to Find the Right Mentor
Dr. Sharma explained that one of the most important aspects of the mentee experience is choosing an ideal mentor. The following are a few essential concepts to consider when choosing a mentor:
- a mentee should seek a mentor with knowledge or some presence in a field or topic the mentee wishes to pursue. It does not have to be the same specialty or degree. It can be on a disease state or a skill, such as research or leadership
- the mentor should be eager to fulfill the role and dedicated to helping the mentee succeed
- the mentee should feel a connection with the mentor and vice versa
Dr. Sharma explained that choosing a mentor doesn’t have to be an overly formal experience. Many times, the mentorship-mentee relationship starts organically. He added that it’s not uncommon to have multiple mentors for varying areas of work and life.
“The goal is for the mentee to become the best professional they can possibly be,” Dr. Sharma concluded. “However, the mentor and mentee will quickly realize the relationship benefits far more than their careers. It benefits healthcare as a whole.”
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