Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine | Nutley, NJ | Physician Specialty Mentoring Program   

Physician Specialty Mentor Program

General Description

The primary focus of the Specialty Mentor is to assist students in identifying, exploring and achieving a desired career goal/ path and helping them make informed career decisions. Mentors are practicing physicians and HMSOM faculty who have first-hand, in-depth, current knowledge of their specific field of medicine and who have expressed specific interest in mentoring. All students are required to be matched with a specialty mentor in their top specialty choice: for P3R students by the spring of the first year and for other students by the spring of the second year. The Specialty Mentor will help you explore the specialty and your fit. Once you select a specialty to pursue for residency, your mentor will support you through the residency application and match process.

The advisor supports students in finding a mentor and making the most of the relationship. The Advising & Career Development office holds a workshop in the spring of each year to review the program, including sharing a detailed resource guide for working with mentors through each stage of the curriculum. As this is a longer-term relationship (6 or more months) students are expected to have engaged in previous career exploration before being matched, including but not limited to: attendance at Specialty Interest and Affinity student organization meetings, informational interviews, using Careers in Medicine resources, and Pre-Clerkship Career Exploration activities.


  • Once matched, students are responsible for taking the initiative to set up the logistics and content of meetings, to follow through in between sessions on suggestions made by the mentor, and to communicate changes to meetings or activities.
  • The expectation is that stuents will meet with the specialty mentor at least every 3 months, although pairs may choose to meet more frequently if mutual schedules permit. Contact may be in person or via phone, video, or email.
  • Students will document progress by filling out the Mentoring Progress Form (link located in the Individualized Learning Plan) every six months, and we will also reach out to mentors periodically for updates.
  • If students decide their interest lies in another specialty, students should let the mentor know, to release them to work with another student; and notify their advisor so that they can be matched with another mentor.

Objectives for the Specialty Mentoring Program

  1. To assist students in identifying, exploring and achieving a desired career goal/path.
  2. To foster relationships between medical students and physicians; to provide students opportunities to interact with future colleagues.
  3. To nurture inspiration, motivation and enthusiasm for a career in medicine.
  4. To observe how career choices impact lifestyle.
  5. To learn more about the complexities of the medical profession.
  6. To provide guidance and assistance with the development of the Phase 3 Plan
  7. To provide support for the NRMP process.

Activities with the mentor may include:

  1. Discussion of physician’s experience in the specialty, the decision-making process of choosing the specialty, benefits and challenges, competitiveness for residency, etc.
  2. Discussion of medical school experience, wellness, school-life balance etc.
  3. Phase 2 support: clerkship scheduling and preparation, shelf exams, elective and away elective scheduling.
  4. Phase 3 support: the P3R process, preparation for residency: application process, discussion of relevant activities and experiences, CV review, mock interviews, listing and ranking residency selections, etc.
  5. Shadowing activities (requires submission of Pre-Clerkship Career Exploration Activity request form, located in the Advising shared google folder:
    1. See patients in the office; observe administrative activities & all aspects of office practice.
    2. Hospital rounds with mentor
    3. Attend department meetings
    4. Attend professional association event with mentor
    5. Observe community involvement of physicians
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