Should you consider getting involved in mentoring?
3 MINUTE READ
I first became involved in mentoring with CMDFA as a student in 2016 through our local Newcastle CMDFA group. It was humbling to have a ‘busy senior doctor’ set aside time to meet with me and encourage me in my faith and progress through medicine. That, in itself, was an enormous encouragement!
I was mentored initially one-to-one with a local GP, usually over coffee, then during internship and residency by a hospital-based specialist alongside a friend and another medical student. We would meet three to four times over the course of the year over a meal. It was a privilege to be invited into their homes, and then host them in return in our (humbler) share house. I loved seeing how God breaks down the usual medical hierarchies.
“It was a privilege to be invited into their homes, and then host them in return in our (humbler) share house. I loved seeing how God breaks down the usual medical hierarchies.”
Both my mentors challenged me in my attitudes and actions, to consider how these led me toward or away from God, shared honestly from their own experiences, spent time praying with me, and thoughtfully answered questions on living out my faith in medicine, managing complex ethical scenarios, and considerations in choosing a career path and managing money. I also enjoyed learning from the other mentees when we met as a group.
After a few years of being mentored, prompted by my gratitude towards my previous mentors and by passages such as Titus 2 and Hebrews 10:23-25, I decided to become a mentor myself to two final-year medical students. I often felt I wasn’t mature enough or skilled enough to mentor, but this taught me to rely on God’s wisdom and strength more, and humbly acknowledge my own limitations. I learned to share about my weaknesses and failings and what God has been teaching me, which is often what mentees appreciate most from meeting with their mentors. Over the course of the year, I was encouraged to see their firm faith, character, and growth. I think I learned more from them than the other way around!
“Over the course of the year, I was encouraged to see their firm faith, character, and growth. I think I learned more from them than the other way around!”
Since 2019, I have had the privilege of overseeing the CMDFA mentoring programme in Newcastle, alongside a small team of medical students and doctors. This involves matching mentors and mentees, periodically touching base with a few allocated mentors or mentees to provide support and running an afternoon tea session mid-year for mentors and mentees to seek advice and support from each other. It has been an ongoing journey in developing dependence on God and leaving my ego at the door, remembering that the ultimate goal is for Him to be glorified by people knowing and loving Him more.
I have continued to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of mentoring, its importance in the Christian walk, and the many different forms it can take. I am continually encouraged by feedback from both mentors and mentees of growth and faith.
Sadly, we have seen a couple of people walk away from their faith, but most find mentoring to be a beneficial experience. We continue to pray that God would use mentoring to strengthen people in their faith so it isn’t choked out by the demands and distractions of medicine.
Throughout my various roles in mentoring, I have been struck by the importance of Christian community and relationships in following Jesus. Regardless of our age, life stage, ability, or maturity in Christ, we all have people in our lives to whom we can look to as examples and for guidance, as well as people we can spur on.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
I encourage you to reflect on how you can live this out in your existing relationships, and consider getting involved in mentoring more formally through your local CMDFA group.
Dr Ali Norsworthy
Dr Ali Norsworthy is a GP working in Newcastle, NSW, having just completed her RACGP training. She has been involved with CMDFA since starting medicine and loves the fellowship it brings with other doctors and health professionals.