How do I continue to develop professionally?


Don’t forget that you are training to become a DOCTOR. Always keep in mind the big picture, and don’t miss out on the unique opportunities that medical school gives you. You need to continue your professional development as well as ensure that you have a personal life away from studying 24/7. Try to volunteer some time with a clinical experience so you’re better prepared when it’s time for your clerkships. Make sure that you continue to build relationships with your mentors and classmates, and maintain the relationships you already have. You will soon need letters of recommendation, so it’s a good idea to have an idea in your mind at this point of the people who would be best for that.

Take stock of the big picture of your career…

Remember that you are training to be a doctor, not a test taker. Does the allocation of your time reflect this larger perspective? When people look back at medical school, what do they find meaningful? Studying is definitely important, but don’t lose the unique opportunities that medical school gives you. Don’t put your life on hold. You need to budget your time accordingly. Maintain contact with the things that make you, YOU. Make time to be with classmates and friends. Make time to develop connections. Make time to think about your professional interests.

As important as Step 1 may seem, developing your professional identity is even more important. Yes, it truly is! Are you thinking about a dual-degree? This is the time to seriously consider it. What kind of professional activities (e.g. research, project work, etc.) are you engaging in? What kind of relationships are you building with potential mentors? How are you learning to become the doctor that YOU want to be? You want to make sure that you are living a well-balanced life so you can become a well-rounded doctor.


Contact with the Clinical Learning Environment…

With the rigor of academic studies, students may often experience anxiety about how much time to spend outside of studies for activities such as clinical learning. One of the biggest and most “painful” transitions is the one from the preclinical phase of learning to clerkships. It is a completely different world…

Even as you are in the preclinical phase, you need to begin to engage and observe the clinical learning environment. If you are doing a shadowing experience, you need to practice engaging members of the care team. Engage in volunteer clinical experiences and work on your patient engagement skills. Pay attention in your doctoring course. You will soon realize how valuable those skills are. Remember that you’re training to become an actual doctor! Use your time wisely in the preclinical phase of learning to fully prepare for the transition to clerkships.


Contact with Mentors…

Medical school goes by fast. In a blink of an eye you will be finished! Many experiences and choices loom, including the one about choosing a specialty. In order to make the best choice, you should engage in a process of exploration, and this involves deliberately reaching out to people that you respect for their perspective. Practically speaking, you will also need to solicit letters of recommendation in the future. It is not too early to begin the process of identifying those people whom you will approach for those letters.


Contact with Classmatess…

Up until now, you and your classmates have had ample opportunities to develop a community. During the clerkship phase of your training, you and your classmates will likely be separated as you go through your rotations on an individualized schedule. After clerkships, there are often electives, away rotations, and interviews. You will find that it will be hard to maintain the contact with your classmates that you had once taken for granted. In the preclinical phase, take the opportunity to solidify some relationships with classmates while you are still together. These relationships you build now could become life-long bonds.




Next Pain Point (Moving to Phase 3): How do I fit into the care team?

1 Comment

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