Washington University Med School

How to Find Your Mentor: Actions for a Potential Protégé

Step 1

Assess your competence as a teacher, educational administrator, or researcher.

  • Assess/define career goals and your current relationship to them. Consider examples such as:
    • To be a successful clerkship director, educational administrator or researcher.
    • To obtain funding for research (investigative, basic lab or clinical; clinical care or education).
    • To achieve national recognition as an innovative ____________________

Step 2

Determine which career aspects need refining.

  • Determine how to document your achievements.
  • Identify specific questions pertaining to the kinds of help you think you need.

Step 3

Determine the personal and professional qualities you would desire or value in a mentor.

  • Look for someone who has existing focuses and interests that match your own.
  • Immerse yourself in the network of your institution and national organization.
  • Ask peers, chairpersons, and the faculty development office at your institution for recommendations on those who have established success in your area of interest.

Step 4

Explain why you are approaching someone as a potential mentor.

  • Explain your career goals and your current relationship to those goals.
  • Explain your current academic role and what you think you might need in terms of advice and guidance.
    • Recognize and appreciate a potential mentor’s time and energy.

Source: Farrell et al – Mentoring for Clinician-Educator – Acad Emerg Med. 2004 Dec., 11 (12) 1346-50

How To Find Your Mentor