Lisa Ishii, MD, MHS, professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and chief quality officer at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore and a member of ENTtoday’s editorial advisory board, said it’s important to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. “It does require someone to stretch beyond their comfort zone,” she added. “But that’s absolutely what they should do. You can travel to national meetings to do that. You can, now … make connections through social media. You can become part of forums with people who are not part of your typical group. There are so many opportunities now.
Explore this issue:January 2018
“It’s really just a matter of stretching yourself to do it,” added Dr. Ishii. “It’s much more comfortable and easy to stay within your immediate group; however, then you’re going to end up with a limited point of view. If you stretch yourself to seek other ideas, thoughts, innovative ways to address problems, then you’ll come up with a more comprehensive [network].”
It’s much more comfortable and easy to stay within your immediate group; however, then you’re going to end up with a limited point of view. If you stretch yourself to seek other ideas, thoughts, innovative ways to address problems, then you’ll come up with a more comprehensive [network]. —Lisa Ishii, MD, MHS
Stepping outside someone’s comfort zone is an important point, Dr. Miller said. A network that stops at the walls of a given institution, in a specific geographic area, or even just within the bounds of otolaryngology, isn’t enough. The same goes with reaching out across academic versus private settings, male versus female physicians, and a wide range of races and creeds.
“What I think is a much more powerful network is one that is very wide, very deep, and diverse,” Dr. Miller added. “And when I say diverse, I’m not talking about one characteristic of a human being versus another; it’s just people who are not like us. For example, I have connections with people in the healthcare business world, or the healthcare insurance industry, or some people who are not in healthcare at all.”
While the classic image of networking is attending local, regional, or national events, Dr. Ishii said that the proliferation of social media sites such as LinkedIn is game-changing for building relationships. “It’s enabling people to stay connected in a way that they were never able to do,” she said. “At the click of a button, you can be reading about what someone was doing. With Twitter, with Instagram, with Facebook, with Snapchat, we have instant access with people all of the time. If anything, one has to be careful to limit oneself to not spending hours a day just browsing around, seeing what people are up to. But, with discipline, obviously, it’s a great tool to stay connected with people.”
Don’t Be Shy
Dr. Ishii also noted that early-career otolaryngologists can sometimes be nervous to approach a stranger in an attempt to build a relationship. But, 12 years into her career, she remembers the people who helped her and now works to do the same for others. She says most otolaryngologists do. “Absolutely, it’s been my experience that there are many people who appreciate the concept of paying it forward,” Dr. Ishii added. “When they have been helped, they plan on helping others.”