The Impact of Mentoring

A fellow AST Board Member, Linda Ohler, and I recently discussed how powerful and rewarding mentoring young transplant professionals can be. We have all had mentors throughout our careers, and many have had the opportunity to support others. Most of us can look back and see how these experiences shaped our careers.

For me, I fondly remember those who mentored me both in clinical medicine and research, along with the many personal and professional discussions that influenced my career decisions. At some point, I became a mentor to others. Seeing my trainees and mentees become accomplished transplant professionals, have flourishing independent careers, and become leaders in their field has been one of my most rewarding career experiences.

We must never forget how important it is to mentor and teach. As transplant professionals, none of us would be where we are today without the support of others.

One of Linda Ohler's most memorable experiences this year was meeting an international transplant student from Brazil. To remind us of all of the power of mentoring and teaching, I invited Linda Ohler to write a guest blog post about her experience.

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Written by Linda Ohler

I recently had the opportunity to meet and mentor a Brazilian nurse named Bruna. Bruna joined a program with the Federal University of Sao Paolo in Brazil, where new graduates can choose a two-year residency in critical care, pediatrics, oncology, or transplant. The graduates can be from multiple disciplines, such as physicians, nurses, physical therapists, pharmacists, or psychologists.

 

The students have clinical plus didactic experiences during the two-year residency. They are paid and rotate through various inpatient and ambulatory care settings in transplant programs such as liver, kidney, heart, lung, and bone marrow. They also learn to care for potential donors in the emergency room, operating room, and have a rotation experience in an OPO. Each student has an opportunity for an international rotation at a transplant program outside of Brazil.

Since 2011, I have mentored six students from this program and have been invited to speak in Brazil on several occasions at their annual multidisciplinary transplant meetings.  

Each student travels with me to Richmond, VA, to tour UNOS and to visit VCU to learn about its artificial heart program. The students also spend time with me in quality, regulatory aspects of transplantation and have observational experiences with nurse practitioners in organ transplant centers such as George Washington, Johns Hopkins, NYU, and VCU. They love this experience and hope to implement the nurse practitioner role in Brazil. Faculty from the Federal University in Sao Paolo came for a visit in 2017 to learn about nurse practitioner programs at Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, and VCU.

This year, Bruna accompanied me to the Transplant Quality Institute Program in Atlanta and became very interested in talks about the SRTR by Jon Snyder, PhD. This talk inspired her to write her school paper about the SRTR .

When we went to New York, Bruna fell in love with the city and NYU. She had the opportunity to shadow the NYU lung transplant team, which has performed over 70 lung transplants so far this year. This was a truly inspiring experience for her, as she had not yet rotated through a lung transplant program in Brazil.

While I have mentored and taught several students from Brazil, each experience is unique and makes me appreciate this opportunity to share our experiences in transplantation in the United States.   

Through these visits with students from Brazil, I learn a lot, too. Mentoring is truly a rewarding experience, and I am always impressed with the eagerness and ambitions of these students.

 

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