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National Mentoring Month: Physician Perspectives and Career Advice

January 26, 2022

From personal stories that fueled their passion for cancer care, to offering tips during medical school, mentors have played a crucial role in supporting current and future healthcare professionals. During National Mentoring Month, Texas Oncology physicians highlight some of their most memorable mentorship moments and the best advice they have received throughout their careers.

Joselin Matthews, M.D. , colorectal surgeon at Texas Oncology Surgical Specialists–McKinney South , shared advice based on her own personal experience about the importance of believing in yourself and finding a mentor:

“Study hard, work hard, don’t let people put you in a box, and find good mentors to guide you. I was initially told that I was too nice and quiet to be a surgeon, but I had great mentors who were also quiet and kind while being strong, brilliant women with successful careers. I have since mentored many young women including those who never thought they could be a surgeon."

Tyler Snedden, M.D. , hematologist and medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–Horizon Circle and Waco , provided insightful advice for anyone aspiring to be a doctor:

“Being a doctor is more than just medical knowledge – it is also about being a compassionate and empathetic person and exercising a high degree of emotional maturity. Spend time volunteering in your local community and shadowing physicians. Do some type of medical research in an area of medicine you are interested in. Keep an open mind in medical school and, most importantly, develop a passion for lifelong learning!”

Elizabeth Bowhay-Carnes, M.D., hematologist and medical oncologist at Texas Oncology–San Antonio Medical Center , shared thoughtful advice for anyone interested in a career in medicine:

“Memorizing facts from a textbook is only a very small part of the journey of becoming a physician. Start by volunteering or working in the medical field. It is important to get as much exposure as possible to different roles people play in the healthcare team. There is no job that is too small. Each role is an important part of patient care.”

Bindupriya Chandrasekaran, M.D., M.R.C.S. , breast surgeon, at Texas Breast Specialists–Methodist Dallas Cancer Center, shared a story about her decision to become a breast surgeon and the importance of finding mentors to help you grow in your career:

“In my fourth year of medical school in India, I assisted a palliative mastectomy to remove a large breast mass and took care of the patient’s wound post-operatively. Before the patient left the hospital, I asked her why she did not see a doctor sooner. The patient gave me a hug and said, ‘If I had met a female surgeon like you early on, I would have come right away.’ That was when I decided to specialize in breast surgery – to help women like her. Since then, I have been blessed with great mentors throughout my surgical training in the U.K. and the U.S. who nurtured my interest in the specialty.”

Nikesh Jasani, M.D. , medical oncologist, Texas Oncology–North Cypress , shared his best advice for aspiring physicians:

“As physicians, we’re constantly learning, improving, and growing. Being a physician is extremely rewarding yet can be immensely challenging. Look at the journey to becoming a doctor as an experience that allows you to grow and develop humanistic and scientific-based skills, which will positively affect all aspects of your personal and professional lives.”

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.