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Welcome to The Medicine Mentors interview series. Our mission is to create a platform for top physician mentors to share key insights, traits and best practices based on their experiences to guide medical students and residents.

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Mar 12, 2021

Kathleen Finn, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Senior Associate Program Director for resident and faculty development at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Finn completed her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and studied at the University of Oxford as a Thouron Scholar where she obtained a Master of Philosophy in Social Anthropology. She attended Harvard Medical School and did her residency training at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Her clinical and research interests include medical education, inpatient transitions of care, quality improvement, resident supervision, and inpatient alcohol withdrawal. Along with her role in the residency program, she also educates at the faculty level as co-director of the frontline case conference series for the division of general medicine and is co-founder of the Boston Society of Hospital Medicine chapter. She's the recipient of major teaching awards and was named one of the top 10 hospitalists by the American College of Physicians in 2014, and won the 2020 Excellence in Teaching award from the Society of Hospital Medicine.

Mentorship puts the “ment” in “development". And today, Dr. Kathleen Finn advises us why—and how—we should grow our own development team as we journey through our career. She offers a new perspective on the importance of building a team of mentors. A development team is made up of mentors of all types: A coach who can help you think about your strengths and will guide you in personal growth. An advocate or sponsor who will go to bat for you when it comes to seeking out and grabbing new opportunities that come your way. And lastly, she recommends getting a therapist to help you process your emotions. Being a physician is an emotional job, Dr. Finn reminds us, and the more we can understand our own emotions, and the emotions of our patients, the healthier we will be.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. Move out of the finite mindset. Focus on developing self-compassion, self-regard, and kindness early on.
2. Don’t delay decision-making: Make decisions in the now, and don’t worry so much about the three-year or five-year plan. And remember that nothing is permanent.
3. When it comes to mentorship, build a development team: Teams of mentors for different needs, advocates, and even therapists. Aside from that, ask others what your strengths are, and start every day with that positive mindset.
4. The transition from a good internist and a great internist is when you understand how to put the patient's agenda first and let them be the driver—no negotiations.