NOSM ‘Ask Alumni’ event builds a culture of mentorship
Medical students recently connected with NOSM Alumni during the School’s inaugural virtual NOSM ‘Ask Alumni’ mentorship event. The evening was an opportunity for current medical students to speak with alumni about top-of-mind issues and burning questions, including preparing for the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) in fourth-year, writing the medical licensing exam, and study tips. Twenty-two medical students participated with a panel of three alumni fielding their questions.
The event was also an important tool to reduce student stress and anxiety commonly felt in relation to applying and preparing for residency—known as the most challenging part of medical school. A recent NOSM student-led study identified that the most stressful times in the medical student’s experience is the first- and fourth-year, which is the application period for residency.
“I personally connected with several pediatric residents throughout my second- to fourth-year as a NOSM medical student. I found this very helpful when selecting electives, specifically having a mentor to connect to, to review my personal letters for residency and to provide words of encouragement prior to the CaRMS match,” says Dr. Josée Lalanne. NOSM alumna (MD 2017). “I felt lucky to have developed these connections and I think all medical learners should have this opportunity.”
Mentorship is identified as an enabler in the NOSM Strategic Plan 2025. Building and fostering a culture of continuous learning and support has been even more valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic, as students navigate new and evolving challenges.
“It is fundamental to have someone to support students during these strenuous times,” says Dr. Lalanne. “NOSM is a resilient community of learners, residents, faculty and staff, and that close-knit nature allows for strong friendships and long-lasting, critical support.”
The single most valuable piece of advice Dr. Lalanne’s mentors shared with her, and she hopes to impart, is that medical school is tough and you are not alone. “There will be ups and downs but trust the process, everything will fall into place. There are many different paths after graduation and mentors are both helpful and inspiring.”
The next NOSM “Ask Alumni” event is planned for 2022. Interested medical students in first and second year will receive an invitation. To participate as an alumni mentor, contact the NOSM Alumni Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.