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Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS, and Salvatore Nardello, DO, discuss the importance of having a mentor during fellowship.
Richard J. Bleicher, MD, FACS, professor, Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of General Surgery, attending surgeon, leader, Breast Cancer Program, director, Breast Fellowship Program, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and Salvatore Nardello, DO, breast surgical oncologist, Melrose Wakefield Healthcare, Tufts Medical Center Community Care, discuss the importance of having a mentor during fellowship.
A good mentor is one who is honest, protective, and supportive, Nardello explains. Although it can be difficult to hear, finding a mentor who delivers honest, bold, and constructive feedback about expectations and performance is critical. Additionally, support is needed even when a mentee makes a mistake.
A mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be someone within the same specialty as the mentee, although it is helpful because then both parties understand the challenges being faced, Nardello says. Oncology and surgery are difficult and emotional fields with high burnout rates. Therefore, having a wide net of mentors that can offer different advice is important, Bleicher and Nardello conclude.