From their first day of enrollment, medical students at Einstein are guided in their journey toward becoming successful physicians through the Career Advisory Program (CAP), an initiative of the office of student affairs (OSA) at Einstein. The CAP begins during orientation and continues throughout medical students’ education. Through CAP, faculty advisors from Einstein’s clinical departments provide guidance and mentorship to help medical students realize their career goals.
In 2013, CAP hosted its inaugural “luncheon meetings,” through which small groups of first- and second-year medical students are invited to connect with the deans in the OSA — Drs. Stephen Baum Allison Ludwig and Joshua Nosanchuk — over lunch.
At these luncheons, the deans meet with groups of 15 to 20 students and discuss issues related to career development. Sessions for first- and second-year students are separate to assure the focus is geared to students’ specific needs at that point in their education.
For example, depending on the career goals that first-years identify, they are advised on various opportunities that they might pursue during the summer before second year. These can range from research and community outreach to working in a developing nation with support from a global health fellowship. Counseling for second-years focuses on their upcoming transition from classroom learning to the hands-on experience of clerkship rotations in the clinical setting.
“By interacting over lunch, we can develop a personal connection and forge a better rapport with students,” explained Dr. Nosanchuk.
“The lunch with the deans helped to address our expectations and fears, gave us perspective of what’s ahead, and offered an opportunity to ask important questions about decisions we’ll be facing,” said first-year student Melvin Joice. “After meeting and talking with them in that smaller setting, I felt more comfortable approaching Dr. Nosanchuk when I saw him at the gym. I’ve built a good relationship with him since then.”
Students learn personal aspects of each dean’s story, such as experiences and decisions that shaped their careers as successful doctors. “We hope these personal interactions will help students consider their own strengths and weaknesses, while also lending insights into the decision-making process,” said Dr. Nosanchuk.
“We all have ambitious long-term goals and it’s easy to get sucked into worrying about how we’re going to achieve them,” said second-year student Liz Larson. “Through the CAP luncheons, the deans provided us with great feedback about making the most of our time here.”
“The interactive luncheons are also a great time to remind students to be mindful of their global well-being during medical school”, added Dr. Ludwig, who oversees the student wellness program known as WellMed.
Ms. Larson agreed. “We tend to stress about our exams, so it was good to be reminded about the importance of staying human – like getting to the gym and spending time with friends. Their main message was, ‘relax, we’ve got your back,’ and that’s helpful for us remember.”
“While the program has been successful, we hope to keep improving it,” noted Dr. Baum. “Students have told us that the CAP luncheons have helped them understand their professional and personal goals better. And they’ve made great suggestions on how we can further meet their needs.”
The deans also use the luncheons to remind students about other initiatives of the career advisory program, noting the various resources available to help them in choosing their medical specialty or in selecting a faculty advisor who can offer professional mentorship. These include career nights specific to a multitude of disciplines and “In the Doctor’s Studio” interview sessions that focus on a particular issue or discipline. For full details bout CAP and its offerings, visit the Career Advisory Program page of the student affairs website.
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