Finding a Good Mentor
Mentors play an important role in cultivating trainees’ careers, especially in the field of hematology, where tremendous opportunities are available at the completion of training. Selecting a good mentor can have a significant impact on a mentee’s career, and this can be difficult to appreciate while immersed in clinical duties during the first year of fellowship. Finding a good mentor requires a great deal of thought and effort, so this process should be started early. First, mentees should identify their own clinical and research interests by drawing from prior experiences and seeking exposure to a variety of clinics and research projects. Mentees should then proactively meet with multiple faculty members to identify the best fit. In some cases, one may even need to explore beyond his or her own institution to find suitable mentors. Word of mouth from other colleagues can be helpful, but meeting with a potential mentor in person is most informative. During the meetings, mentees should ask about potential, available projects that are “trainee-ready,” the faculty’s time commitment to trainees, and previous mentoring records. While this process may be time-consuming, it is crucial to career development and therefore should be a priority in your career.
A good mentor schedules regular meetings with mentees, provides career advice when appropriate, and involves mentees in suitable opportunities whenever possible. Since good mentors are critical for the future of hematology, ASH created the Mentor Award in 2006 to recognize those who excel in this role. Nominations for this year’s award are due April 4. Read more about the award and the nomination process.