“Mentorship is a brain to pick, and ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” John C. Crosby
Mentors serve a powerful role in our lives and careers. Getting advice from someone who has “been there and done that” is a great gift and helps students and early-career professionals think more deeply about the direction they want their career to take and how to get there.
At BHECN, we support connecting behavioral health students, faculty and professionals in a number of ways. One of our signature events, the Mentorship Dinner, was held January 27 at Joslyn Castle. The 6th annual event hosted 112 students, faculty, and other guests and was co-sponsored by UNMC’s student Psychiatry Interest Group (PsIG). This year’s event, gathered students and mentors from a range of behavioral health disciplines including psychiatry, psychology, nursing, physician assistance, and included students, trainees, and faculty from UNMC, Creighton University, UNO, and Union College.
The mentorship dinner connects students, faculty, and practitioners in an informal setting where they can ask real questions and become better acquainted with professionals in other behavioral health fields.
“The event has grown tremendously in 5 years. When I started at UNMC, my job on faculty was as faculty advisor to the Psychiatry Interest Group, which was one student at the time,” said Dr. Howard Liu, M.D., Medical Director at BHECN. “Year by year, we grew to more medical students being interested. Finally, we added other professions—nursing, psychology, and counseling last year. This year, we added folks studying to become physician assistants with an interest in psychiatry as well as master’s level social workers.”
Students at the Mentorship Dinner repeatedly mentioned how important having mentors has been to them as they finish their education and begin a career. Psychiatric nurse practitioner student, Cheri Jenkins said, “My mentors have been awesome, they’ve been a blessing to me. They’ve helped encourage me when I’ve felt anxious. They’ve helped me with various challenges in the NP program. They’ve provided a wealth of knowledge and ideas and they’ve helped me develop professionally.”
“I think all mentoring events set the stage for the concept of mentoring. They raise the bar, they create focus, energy. They allow people to understand the importance of mentoring the next generation,” says UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold, M.D.
Donald Frey, M.D., senior vice provost for clinical affairs at Creighton University says mentorship has mutual benefits, “When I look back over my career I think of those people who really inspired me and I think that we all need inspiration from time to time. Whether we are students seeking mentors, we need inspiration or if we happen to be someone who may have served as a mentor, we seek that same inspiration. In fact, if we are mentors to others the people we are mentoring in fact mentor us as well.”