Strategies for Learning the Most from Your Resident Mentor

Having a great resident mentor during your training can make a real difference in your career. To get the most out of your Residency, it is important to employ strategies that increase your opportunities for learning.‌ Next time you are working with your resident mentor, consider using these tips to enhance your Residency training:

Clarify What You Want Out of the Resident Mentor Relationship

Are you expecting your resident mentor to provide close guidance in the specialty or just focused, experience-based details to sharpen your skills? If you establish what you would like to get out of the mentorship, you are more likely to be satisfied with it. Ask yourself, what would the ideal mentorship look like and discuss your ideas with your resident mentor to ensure that you are on the same page and working towards the same goals.

Understand What Your Resident Mentor Brings to Your Training

Discontent often stems from misunderstandings and unmet expectations. When you meet your resident mentor, it is important to understand their strengths and areas of expertise. Not all Physicians working in a specialty have the same experience levels or background. Understanding what they bring to the mentor-mentee relationship can help you focus and maximize your learning efforts.

Be a Good Mentee

It is important to show your resident mentor that you respect the time and effort they are putting into the mentorship. A good mentee should arrive on time, maintain a professional demeanor and express appreciation for their mentor's efforts. When people feel appreciated and respected they are more likely to feel invested in you and motivated to help you mature professionally.

Communicate Clearly with Your Resident Mentor

It helps both you and your mentor if you communicate expectations and interests in a clear and concise fashion. Remember that time is of the essence for most mentors who are busy practicing medicine, so clear communication is essential. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification, assistance or guidance. Your resident mentor is dedicated to ensuring that you are fully trained at the conclusion of the program, but they can only teach you if you are engaged and seeking or providing feedback on a regular basis.

Come Prepared

To get the most out of your mentorship, it is important to be prepared. Research the specialty and have the basics down cold, so you can focus on asking the right questions. This preparation will enhance your overall ability to learn from your resident mentor's experience.

Be Flexible

Resident mentors are busy, and the medical field is often filled with unscheduled events. Sometimes being at the right place at the right time yields the best experiences, so stay flexible. Try to go the extra mile to assist with that after-hours emergency case or be available for added duties. Not only does this increase your opportunities for learning, it also shows your solid work ethic and enthusiasm level.

Employing these strategies can greatly enhance your relationship with your resident mentor and provide you with a positive learning experience. This training is a critical part of your education, and you can help maximize the value by remaining engaged, flexible, professional, and communicative.