Mentoring programs can help build the future of radiology

James Rawson, MD, radiology chair at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia, has a lot of experience with developing relationships between new recruits and those who are more established in the field of radiology. On Thursday, Dec. 1, Rawson will discuss the importance of developing future leaders in radiology in a presentation titled, “Mentors, Mentees and Mentoring in Radiology.”

One of Rawson’s core beliefs is, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, get a mentor.” Developing a relationship with a higher-up in radiology, he explained, allows a mentee to learn the ins and outs of the industry.

In his presentation, Rawson will discuss the specific benefits of mentorships in radiology, as well as going into the different types of mentorships available to industry professionals.

“There are many different mentoring models,” Rawson said. “Some of the variables that can define the mentoring relationship include short versus long term, focused versus general and informal versus structured. Mentoring relationships can be tailored to the individual’s needs.”

According to Rawson, mentors should teach mentees, but they also need to keep a foot on the sidelines to allow that individual to grow. Learning through exploring different possible outcomes can propel a mentee toward finding solutions and retaining information. Whether the focus is on short-term goals or more complex problems, the mentoring space has room for just about every scenario.

Rawson will offer tips for attendees to learn to effectively start a mentoring program, sharing helpful information about continuing the process through its many steps. The process may seem daunting at first, but Rawson emphasized the benefits.

“The medical literature shows mentoring results in improved teaching and scholarship and increases career satisfaction and retention,” Rawson said.

The one-on-one experience ingrains lessons in a quick, effective manner. Mentees are not reading about how to perform a procedure—rather, they are performing it themselves. They see a plethora of outcomes, all while under the watchful eye of a knowledgeable mentor.

“In any organization, people are your greatest asset,” Rawson said. “When you think about the investment we make in radiology equipment, mentoring is one of the investments we make in our people.”

The mentor-mentee relationship encourages a proactive method of learning. Building the next generation of radiologists is a complex endeavor. The industry requires its new professionals to become experts in new treatment options, innovative technologies and so much more.

With the guidance of mentors, those in radiology’s next generation are set to embrace the industry’s ever-changing landscape confidently—while knowing they have teachers ready to support them.