Careers in Medical Education as a Hematologist
For fellows interested in an academic career with a focus in medical education, the path to that goal is not always clear. Perhaps the reason for this is that a career in medical education is one of the roads less traveled in academic medicine. Want to be a funded researcher? Take a course related to your research of choice and find the best research mentor to help you achieve your goals. Want to be an ace clinician? Identify the best diagnosticians and master communicators at your institution and do as much clinic with them as possible. However, what about those of us desiring to mold future generations of physicians and advance the art and science of medical education? Consider the following five tips to aid you in gaining the experience and qualifications necessary to make you the top candidate for a medical education job.
- Identify yourself as an educator: Set up a formal meeting with the internal medicine program director (or pediatrics program director, as the case may be) at your institution and introduce yourself as a fellow pursuing a medical education career. Make yourself available to teach resident, intern, and medical student conferences in the hospital.
- Make yourself a resource for your fellowship program: Offer to join faculty committees on curriculum and education, both to be a fellow voice and to gain experience in curricular design early on.
- Teach medical students, physician assistants and nurse practitioners: Set up meetings with the hematology/oncology course director at the medical school affiliated with your program and the faculty member in charge of educating the hematology-oncology physician assistants and nurse practitioners at your institution. They will love to have a motivated, intelligent fellow to call upon to give lectures and conferences.
- Pursue a medical education course or fellowship: Many large academic centers offer two- to four-week courses in how to be an educator for up-and-coming medical educators. Some even offer a longer fellowship in medical education that can be completed during your second or third year of hematology-oncology fellowship.
- Say “yes” to all teaching opportunities: Perhaps you’re pursuing a career in thrombosis and hemostasis but someone asks you to give a lecture on cancer immunotherapy to the hospitalists at your center. Do not hesitate! Say yes, educate yourself to become an expert on the material, and do a great job giving the talk. This is how you gain the stellar educator reputation and ensures further opportunities come your way.
This is a brief list, but a good place to start. Don’t forget, as you transition to junior faculty, the ASH Medical Educators Institute is an excellent resource to help you rise to the next level!