During training, we often feel unempowered. We aren’t yet attendings, but we have also accomplished so much more than we realize. We need to acknowledge that we are in positions of power to other women in need of mentorship and sponsorship. In this final part of our four part series on sponsorship, will will discuss how to sponsor while in training.
Even as a medical student, you can sponsor a more junior student, or a high school/college premedical student. During residency, you can sponsor a medical student you’ve worked with.
An excellent way to sponsor is to suggest women for opportunities when you are in a role to nominate others. Or, if you find yourself turning an offer down, consider suggesting another woman or someone you want to sponsor in your stead. According to the ever-prolific Dara Kass, MD “Opportunities are not finite. Share yours. Sponsoring other women adds to your career and impact.”
Some examples of sponsorship in medical training:
Author Grace Oliver was recently recruited for a research study and there was room for another medical student in the project. Thinking back to Part 3 of this series, she could easily remember a more junior medical student who had been doing great, visible work at their institution.
As a resident, you are asked to do a procedure on shift. As an act of sponsorship, suggest a junior resident or medical student perform the procedure and offer to supervise.
You are the president of an undergraduate medical organization but will be graduating. As an act of sponsorship, suggest a more junior member who you have worked with for the role.
During Medical School, you are working on a research paper and your PI mentions that the team may need more help. As an act of sponsorship, suggest a college student you have worked with who is interested in going to medical school.
During your residency, you were asked to give a lecture for Medical Students. As an act of sponsorship, suggest an intern who may have an interest in medical education and offer to guide them through the lecture creation.
These examples of sponsorship may not be “perfect” but we think they are excellent small steps you can make earlier in your career. In these examples, a person of power is using their influence to provide a more junior person an opportunity they would not otherwise have. Once you develop this behavioral pattern, it will continue as your career advances.
Now that we are all armed with knowledge about sponsorship, we would love to hear about the experience you’ve had with sponsorship.