Recently, I had the honor of being officially elected as one of the board of directors for the San Diego Academy of Family Physicians (SDAFP).
More importantly, I had the pleasure of sitting at a table with the new President and several medical students, two of whom received scholarship awards for their exemplary service within the community.
It reminded me of the wild ride that is being a medical student. The anticipation of the first day of orientation; the white coat ceremony; meeting new people; endless hours of lectures, followed by late nights of studying at home; dissecting for the first time; study groups; problem based learning; the knot in your stomach before your very first exam; volunteering/shadowing/rotations during which you experience the joy and devastation that can be patient care; an incessant feeling of less than; waiting on your Step 1 that essentially determines your fate; witnessing your peers simultaneously going through different challenging stages of life (marriage, divorce, having children, miscarriages, deaths in the family, new serious medical conditions, mental health disorders, substance abuse); comparing your successes and failures to that of others; wondering if you made the right career choice whether that be medicine or the specialty you chose; anticipating match day; graduation day – you are on top of the world.
In my opinion, being a medical student is the true definition of the human experience. It is the perfect stage in one’s medical career to experience the true benefits of coaching.
Although the students I spoke with were not entirely familiar with coaching, they agreed that they had to be incredibly proactive in finding a sustainable mentor that aligned with their vision, and would certainly value coaching at certain turning points in their four years (especially when thinking about what speciality they would choose).
I know if I had a coach while I was a medical student (really if I had one since high school! ) I would have asked more questions, engaged more with my peers, had a better relationship with challenges, wouldn’t have second guessed my decision to go into medicine, possibly made larger impacts, and I would have had more fun on the journey, rather than always thinking of the next destination.
So, is it possible that every medical school could offer 1:1 or group coaching?
As the evidence for coaching continues to grow exponentially, I think this dream can become a reality.