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Insights from LMS Mentors: “What Comes Around Goes Around”

What Comes Around Goes Around

David and Marian Bensema

You are asking yourself if a mistake was made in the title; there was no mistake.  Participaing in the Lexington Medical Society (LMS) Mentoring Program has been a great opportunity to acknowledge the mentoring that came our way during our training and practice days and to send the grace forward to the next generation of physicians.  We both benefited greatly from mentors at each level providing encouragement, giving guidance, and sometimes just allowing us to vent.  They are too numerous to list but for Dave it began with Dr. John Freer bringing him to an LMS meeting during his first year of medical school.  For Marian the guidance of Dr. Ray Caffrey early in her pathology career was indispensable.  Both of us are still receiving mentoring as we navigate our ‘preferment’ (a much more useful term than retirement) from friends like Dr. Jim McManis who have led very fulfilling post-practice lives.

When the LMS began the Mentoring Program we knew it was a great way to expand on the mentoring that we had begun informally.  Our first mentees are now completing residency training and, in one case, already through a first year of practice.  What do they get from our involvement?  They get seasoned physicians committed to their success and fulfillment.  They get coaching as they evolve and then select their residency choices.  They get sounding boards when the effort to maintain balance in life becomes a challenge.  They are provided with modeling of what professional and community service and engagement can look like and an awareness of the infinite opportunities for service and growth that a life in medicine provides.  They get a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a pint of beer, a meal, and relationships that do not come with performance expectations or grading systems.  They get a respite from the demands and stresses of medical school and a peek at what life can be like after the training years are done. 

In the course of our six years, so far, participating in the Mentoring Program we have found that whatever we give to the relationships is returned many times over.  We get recharged as we see the wonders of medicine and privilege of patient care discovered anew by our mentees.  We are taken back to the heady early days of our medical marriage as we watch our mentees navigate relationships and work-life balance.  We get the satisfaction that in some small way we are helping the future patients of these young physicians by participating in their preparation for practice.  We find our cup of blessing filled to the brim and running over.

We hope that you will join us in mentoring medical students this year.  They need our presence and support more than you can imagine and they are very appreciative of every effort. The get is greater than the give.   Isn’t it time to send back out what came around?