Having regularly scheduled, organized mentorship events allows us to actively engage with all of our residents throughout each stage of their training. —Abtin Tabaee, MD
Explore This IssueSeptember 2021
The NYP program leadership includes faculty from the different campuses, along with one PGY-3 and one PGY-5 resident who serve as co-directors. “Resident leaders on the mentorship committee provide a sensitive and connected direction to the program. Additionally, it’s a great opportunity for them to take on leadership roles within the department,” said Dr. Tabaee. The year-to-year development of the program is largely based on resident feedback and the leadership of the two residents on the committee. “There are new resident leadership and fresh perspectives each year. This collaboration allows the mentorship experience to continue to evolve,” Dr. Tabaee said.
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
At University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, each incoming otolaryngology resident is assigned a faculty mentor as soon as they start their intern year. They’re expected to meet at least twice per year to discuss upcoming goals and review previous goals. Additionally, each junior resident is assigned a more senior resident for peer mentorship. Residents are also encouraged to develop mentorship relationships with other faculty and residents on a more informal basis, depending on who they “fit” with, according to Cristina Cabrera-Muffly, MD, director of the residency program and an associate professor at the university’s department of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery.
While residents may change their formal mentor as much as they would like after PGY-1, most do stay with their original assignment, although a few change mentors once they decide on a subspecialty. Dr. Cabrera-Muffly explained that sometimes there isn’t a good fit between a mentor and a mentee, but a key component to success is that residents can change their mentor without the concern of insulting or disappointing them.
Dr. Cabrera-Muffly sees benefits to both formal and informal mentorship relationships. Although assigned formal mentorship relationships can develop over time if there is a strong bond, a deeper connection may develop in informal mentorship relationships because they require more up-front investment than do random pairings of a mentee and a mentor.
How we cultivate diverse talent has major implications for what our specialty will look like in the years to come. —Michael J. Brenner, MD
Mentorship at the residency level can help residents focus much more on what they want their life to look like throughout their career, which differs from mentorship for medical students, whose main goal is to absorb as much knowledge as possible while deciding what specialty to pursue. “The mentorship program helps residents to reflect on their progress and career goals at definite intervals throughout their training. This helps them refocus their efforts and make the most of their experiences,” Dr. Cabrera-Muffly said.