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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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Oct 30, 2020

Kimberly Manning, MD is a Professor of Medicine and the Associate Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. She additionally serves as a residency program director for the Transitional Year Residency Program at Emory. Dr. Manning is a recipient of numerous institutional and national teaching awards including Emory’s Papageorge Award and the ACGME’s Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award in 2018. Dr. Manning is a prolific writer and authors a blog called “Reflections of a Grady Doctor” which was named as one of 4 medical blogs you should read by Oprah Magazine in 2010.

Dr. Kimberly Manning describes the untapped potential in a trainee as a “half-eaten sandwich sitting on a shelf”. She shares how her mentors helped her realize and unleash her potential as a writer. Today, we learn a few strategies for helping us reach our full potential as physicians. Dr. Manning is a strong believer in deliberate practice: Don’t just go through the motions, ask to be observed and be proactive in obtaining real-time feedback. She reminds us that mentors are people too: When we are engaging with them, ask “climate questions” (a phrase she credits to her colleague Dr. Richard Pittman) that shows engagement on a personal level (before jumping to business). And finally, she tells us that the best mentees do three things: Start, finish, and deliver.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. As trainees, we are full of untapped potential. A good mentor realizes the potential we don’t yet know exists in ourselves, and helps us cross that bridge.
2. Deliberate practice is key. It’s not just about going through the motions when we practice, it’s having a mentor who is able to watch us go through the motions, give us feedback, and help us grow.
3. Start with climate questions. Remember that your mentor is a person, and ask questions about them as humans before getting right to the medicine.
4. The best mentees do three things: Start, finish, and deliver.