MENTOR: an experienced and trusted person who gives another person advice and help over a period of time, especially related to work or school.
One of the most common stressors any future health care provider faces is the struggle to find a good mentor. Someone who will be there in times of uncertainty to help guide you, but someone who also understands the importance of you finding your own way. I was lucky enough to find that person during my shadowing experience while I was applying for PA school. A simple email I sent out to probably to 50 PAs turned into a relationship that blossomed into so much more.
During my undergrad, I was working full time as a CNA while attending school full time. I wanted to get into PA school directly from undergrad and everything I did was focused on that goal. Sarah was there for me through the chaos of applying and working and school, often times reminding me to take a step back and have fun. She is the person who really made me realize that the path to a dream isn’t straight forward and that life can throw you some curveballs. She wrote me the letter of recommendation that opened doors for interviews. She was there to offer congratulations when I got accepted, and to remind me when I got denied that everything worked out for a reason.
When I started PA school, Sarah was once again the person I reached out to. She had recently graduated and still remembered the overwhelming stress of PA school. When I struggled to learn something or felt inadequate compared to my classmates, Sarah was the person to break it down for me and remind me that I deserved to be there. When I started clinicals, she was able to offer me some advice on the dos and don’ts of getting along with your preceptor.
Over the years, our mentor-mentee relationship has changed from that of a current PA-C and hopeful pre-PA, to one of a PA-C and soon to graduating PA student. And so the things we discuss have changed. No longer do we talk about what classes to take and what kind of patient contact hours to get, but rather what kind of study materials should I invest in for the PANCE and how to read contracts. We talk about finding first jobs and what kinds of things are red-flags, and she reminds me not to worry.
She has been a constant guiding force throughout my entire PA school experience, and I know that even when I graduate and start working, I’ll continue to reach out to Sarah with questions. She has proven time and time again to be an exceptional mentor, and now my hope is that one day I’ll be able to provide the same kind of guidance she provided me with, from pre-PA to PA school graduation.
About the author:
Erin Moore is a PA student at the George Washington University; before school, she worked as a CNA for 2 years while getting her B.S. in Health Science at the University of Florida. In her free time, Erin enjoys watching Netflix with her cat, running, and cooking. She is also the founder of the popular blog Stethoscope and Sparkle. Follow Erin on Instagram!