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    Urology mentors: For many, the quest begins at home

    Nirmish Singla, MD

    Urology Times Blogger profile

    Dr. Singla is a urology resident at the University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas.

     

    In a letter dating back to the 17th century, Sir Isaac Newton wrote, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Indeed, the foundation of our modern experiences and road to future discoveries in science and medicine rely heavily on the accomplishments of our predecessors. Along a similar thread, when choosing to pursue a medical career and a particular specialty within medicine, mentors often play an influential role. 

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    Such mentors may come in several disguises, including instructors from whom we have learned, clinicians whom we have observed, or researchers under whom we have worked. For many, however, the quest to find a role model begins at home.

    As a resident, I have interacted with many role models along my medical journey, which serendipitously led me on the path to urology. As the son of an academic urologist, however, it’s hard to deny that my father has and will continue to serve as my own giant. Like many offspring of physicians, I like to believe my choice to pursue a medical degree and training in urology was spurred by an independent and unpressured, albeit inspired, decision—as it should be. Among the numerous benefits of having a physician family member are guidance, support, and visibility. Certainly, guidance navigating through an increasingly complicated training process and support throughout the duration of training and beyond are invaluable.

    Early visibility is particularly advantageous for a specialty such as urology. Many students find that their attraction to urology developed in the latter portion of their medical school training and only after actively seeking out opportunities for exposure. Indeed, urology, as with many specialized fields, often receives limited emphasis in the standard medical school curriculum and must be selected as an elective rotation. In fact, by the time many physicians graduate from medical school, their exposure to urology is minimal.

    Having a family member in urology affords the unfiltered opportunity to witness and understand the life of a urologist outside the hospital setting, thereby enabling one to make a truly informed decision prior to a lifelong commitment to the field. In addition, the choice of practice setting following training—whether continuing the family business in the private world or staying in academia—can be informed in a similar manner.

    Next: "I discovered quickly that having two generations of urologists in a single household is not a novel concept."

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