Guest Post: From Mentees to Mentors—Paying It Forward

Rich Yoon Headshot.jpgOrthoBuzz occasionally receives posts from guest bloggers. This guest post comes from Richard Yoon, MD.

With 6 months left in my trauma fellowship, the excitement, anticipation, and sometimes terror around finally beginning my young career continues to build. However, on a flight back from the recent AOTrauma Fellows Course, I also became equally excited (but not so terrified) about the opportunity to start paying it forward.

Being surrounded by some of the best minds in orthopaedic trauma, both young and seasoned, was not only a boost for our clinical acumen, but more importantly was also inspirational. I experienced first-hand the faculty’s dedication to teaching the next generation. Taking time away from their families, their patients, and their institutions, the AOTrauma faculty truly exemplified the role of “educators.” By discussing their experiences—with us and with one another—I saw yet again that life-long learning is very real, and it’s how you continue to get better everyday.

I am not writing about this recent experience to promote a specific organization, but rather to remind my generation of young surgeons that soon it will be our turn to pay it forward by filling the big shoes of mentorship, education, and leadership.

No matter what your specialty is, if you have not done so already, I urge you to join your respective organizations and get involved in some capacity. To echo the words of my own mentor, Frank Liporace, MD, “No one is asking you to run the entire thing, but trust me, in whatever capacity you participate, you will definitely learn something to get you better, and in the end, you will find a network of friends who become family.”

In 2017, the “family” of orthopaedic professionals is growing larger, more specialized, and more interconnected and accessible than ever. Our orthopaedic family continues to push the field forward, finding new ways to educate, research, and improve patient care.

So I urge my classmates of talented individuals: please honor those teachers and mentors who have enriched our lives. Let’s pay it forward, continue to work hard, and try to stay involved, because one day, we will need another generation to do the same for us.

Richard Yoon, MD is a fellow in orthopaedic traumatology and complex adult reconstruction at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

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