Are you feeling overwhelmed after reading the previous chapters? By now, many of you are not sure where or how to start this next journey in your career path on the road to postgraduate training. However, you have probably already discussed your future goals with faculty and more experienced pharmacy practitioners. Over your time as a pharmacy student, many of you have interacted with individuals with advanced practice skills, professional qualities you admire, and who want to motivate and guide a younger professional trainee like yourself. Well, if you were wondering who a good mentor would be, it is someone that possesses these qualities. Especially in health care, mentorship is an important process in many professions. Appropriate mentorship is needed to develop younger colleagues and give students the guidance to perfect their knowledge base, skill set, and professional experience. A mentor is much more involved than an advisor in your professional growth and development, offer specific advice that impacts you on a personal level, and furthermore serves as an advocate for the mentee in their pharmacy network.
“My mentor was the single most helpful tool for my journey in pursuing postgraduate training. Finding a great mentor is a must!”
Samantha P. – Pharmacy Student, Alabama
In addition, one key difference is that advisors are typically individuals assigned by your college to help with specific issues such as signing up with classes. Mentors are individuals whom you identify and seek out to help you along the way.
Mentors become even more important during your residency search given the complexities and magnitude of the process. Mentors can guide you through this seemingly overwhelming experience by serving as a “sounding board” and providing invaluable feedback. The mentor(s) you ultimately choose will be heavily based how comfortable you feel with the individual, especially in a one-on-one situation. These individuals should be someone who you expect to be candid in offering feedback and guidance, challenge you on a personal and professional level, and provide you motivation to achieve your goals and objectives. Other factors to consider include (1) whether or not you admire and want to emulate this professional's career path and professional achievements, (2) if they are well respected by their peers and have established a professional network, (3) if you can work well with this individual, and (4) if this person has time to provide mentorship? Faculty members are a logical choice for a mentor, but anyone in practice who meets the previously mentioned criteria (alumni, recent graduates, current residents, fellows, clinical pharmacist, clinical coordinators, directors of pharmacy, or IPPE or APPE rotation preceptors), who has experienced the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting (ASHP MCM), or who has been involved in residency search process would be an excellent choice for a mentor. It is desirable to choose a mentor practicing within your specialty area(s) of interest, but it should not be the ...