FAER  |   January 2013
It’s Not Just the Mentor!
Article Information
Cardiovascular Anesthesia / Critical Care / Education / CPD / Pain Medicine / Trauma / Burn Care / FAER
FAER   |   January 2013
It’s Not Just the Mentor!
ASA Monitor 01 2013, Vol.77, 48-49.
ASA Monitor 01 2013, Vol.77, 48-49.
The goal of our collective push toward research mentorship is really to ensure that the supply of anesthesiology, critical care and pain practitioners, with the interest and ability to conduct cutting-edge research, remains strong. Why? Because research is what brought our specialty to where it is today, and research will be necessary to take us to the future. Our investigative activities are what keep us at the table of academic medical specialties as true partners. In essence, no research, no specialty.
But successful mentorship is complex; more than mentorship is required. First, and perhaps foremost, it requires a committed and capable mentee. All mentors with any experience will attest to this. The very best mentor will get nowhere with a mentee who lacks curiosity, motivation or the basic education of what research is all about. Many such mentees feel obliged to assent to research as they think it enhances their chances of landing faculty positions, or being accepted and promoted. Others have a “glass jaw” in that they become disconsolate with the first rejected paper or grant and then simply quit to avoid facing further such trauma. An excellent mentor can make a difference but, in general, will have difficulty with these trainees. In contrast, the best mentees have the drive and curiosity to succeed despite even poor mentorship. These people are those who come in on weekends and post-call days to conduct experiments, who have the resourcefulness to build or scavenge their own equipment, who know the recent literature better than their mentor and who relish the opportunity to argue their case. Even the best mentees benefit from mentors capable of fanning their flame with the right question or suggestion. We need to recognize as a specialty that we are not attracting enough of such trainees to anesthesiology. This despite the enormous intellectual challenges inherent in the neuroscience, immunology or cardiovascular biology of what we do every day. As faculty, we need to make time to gain access to undergraduates, first-year medical students and to participate in the MSTP programs that exist in many of our medical schools. We have found that many such students are startled to learn of the rich research opportunities available in our discipline. The early pairing of the right young people with the right mentor is synergistic; success is nearly ensured!
Submit a Comment
Submit A Comment

Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest. Comments are moderated.

Affiliation & Institution
I have a potential conflict of interest
Comment Title

This feature is available to Subscribers Only
ASA Member Login or Create an Account ×