Moving Us Closer To Osler
A Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence Initiative

Mentorship—a lifelong dialogue   


In our long-lasting mentor-mentee relationship, we’ve learned it’s helpful to put a regular check-in time on the calendar and to brainstorm questions and goals for the session ahead of time. 

Jane Abernethy: 
Imagine having a trusted advisor by your side to help you navigate the twists and turns of a medical career. They celebrate your wins, offer a lifeline during setbacks, and share their insights to sharpen your clinical skills. Consider yourself fortunate, like me, if you find such a gem. Below is a little glimpse into my relationship with my mentor and a few tips for how to cultivate your own effective mentor-mentee relationship.  

 Once a month when I drive home from work, I call my residency program director.  Sometimes she has to listen to my baby crying in the back seat. She knows the stories of my most challenging patients and knows my boss’ name. But she’s never set foot in my hospital and doesn’t fully understand the intricacies of my new institution.  

 However, she’s still one of my most important coaches. She’s able to take an objective but often more creative approach to navigating my professional life. She also helps ground me in a prior version of myself—an excited learner who loved primary care despite its formidable moments.  

In training, we interact with teachers every day. Maintaining a connection with those mentors beyond residency is a critical part of my well-being. I’m lucky my mentor finds the energy to keep investing in me even though it’s no longer her professional responsibility. 


Rani Nandiwada: 
Jane asked me why I do this, and this is why: her above statement brought tears to my eyes and lifted my heart on a hard day at home where my own baby is crying, my partner is sick, and I’m tired. It’s the privilege to be a part of a mentee’s journey, to walk with them in their joys, and sit with them in their lows. It’s knowing that I’m here to support them in the way my mentors were there to support me. It’s the honor of paying this back and forward. I do it because I believe in Jane, but also selfishly because it makes me happy to build relationships and collect people in my life. 


5 tips for maintaining a strong mentor-mentee connection: 


1. Pick a recurring time to touch base and get it on the calendar.

If time isn’t set aside for mentorship, it’s less likely to happen. 


2. Prepare for your time together.

Create specific questions and set goals prior to your conversations. 


3. Follow through.

If the mentor makes recommendations, try them and discuss their impact at your next session. 


4. Express gratitude.

Mentorship takes time and effort. Acknowledging the ways you both enhance each other’s personal and professional lives will enrich your relationship. 


5. Pay it forward.

Seek out mentees in honor of your prior mentors.  









This piece expresses the views solely of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of any organization, including Johns Hopkins Medicine.