After all those years of medical training you’ve been through, you’re in a pretty good place to become an educator yourself. This can happen in two ways: the more obvious, which is through teaching patients how to live healthy lives, and the less obvious, which is through helping other medical professionals learn to serve and treat their patients. Both can drive your career forward in unique ways and bring incredible levels of fulfilment.
Let’s start with patient education, which is known to increase patient satisfaction and improve health outcomes. In turn, these positive outcomes can make your experience as a doctor more rewarding and exciting. One great way to integrate more patient education into your career is to pursue hospital volunteer opportunities or work as a medical volunteer in a clinic.
Retired OB-GYN physician Louis Weinstein volunteers at a free medical clinic in South Carolina where he provides patient education among other healthcare services. He finds the work extremely rewarding.
“If spending extra time talking to my patients can prevent one stroke, one heart attack or break the cycle of poverty for one person, then I’ve done more than enough,” he said. “It was more than worth it to me.”
Perhaps you’re content with the level of patient education you’re providing in your day-to-day job but want to volunteer in other ways, such as by educating other medical professionals. If so, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities to make that happen, too.
One great way to integrate more patient education into your career is to pursue hospital volunteer opportunities or work as a medical volunteer in a clinic.
Consider getting involved in a mentorship program where you have the chance to guide and inspire a younger person who’s interested in pursuing a medical career. Besides helping your mentee navigate their future career, mentorship is also beneficial to you as a physician because it provides opportunities for reflection and self-renewal and delivers personal and professional satisfaction.
This holds true for Robert Winfield, assistant professor of trauma, acute, and critical care surgery at Washington University, St. Louis, who mentors medical students and residents who are working toward becoming surgeons themselves.
“Of the many joys that my surgical career brings to me, helping my mentees grow and develop into accomplished young surgeons infuses my career with energy and life and inspires me to be a better surgeon and person,” he said in a piece for the Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons.
Besides helping others learn, diving into educational volunteer work is a great way to develop renewed excitement and inspiration for your work as a physician and drive your career forward.