The value of mentorship

Already a few months into her clerkship and Dema Kadri is still feeling somewhat awestruck. “I’m in OB, right now and the other day I helped during a delivery,” she said. “I put the baby on the mother, and she was so thankful and so happy; it makes it all worthwhile,” she added with a detectable lump in her throat.

For Kadri, the opportunities to engage with patients have been the most rewarding of her entire medical school experience thus far. It’s the gratitude that patients extend toward the students that adds to the reward. “Here we are training in Windsor, and people are sharing their stories, their fears, and their concerns with us, so that we can learn,” she said. “And they are thanking us, when really we should be thanking them. It’s very humbling.”

A Windsorite, Kadri always imagined going to medical school. She first completed her undergrad at the University of Windsor and then went on to do a master’s in biomedical engineering. It was during an internship at Beaumont Hospital, when she observed a robotic surgery, that she realized how she could use her knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes from a research standpoint and apply it to front line care.

True to her nature, Kadri enthusiastically approached her application to medical school. During the process, she reached out to two important mentors: a former professor, Dr. Sirinart Ananvoranich, and Dr. Lisa McCaffrey, a longtime neighbor and physician.

This guidance and support offered by her mentors was not lost on the young medical student. Nor has the mentorship provided by faculty and upper year students to Kadri during her 27 months as an undergraduate medical student.

It’s this culture of mentorship - part of the fabric of the School - which led the mentee to become a mentor.

During her second year, Kadri became a member of the Student Support Team. Crediting it as an important turning point in her own development, Kadri provided mentorship to first year students. As the Student Support Team, Kadri and her classmates became the group that students could turn to if they were stressed, had questions, or needed guidance. “We are all in this together and helping each other along makes us all stronger,” she said.

Through her work on the team, Kadri came to learn more about the in-depth involvement of faculty with mentorship initiatives. She was struck by their commitment and the importance placed on mentorship. “It was nice to see how involved the School was with the Student Support Team,” she said. “Faculty are always thinking of ways to make our experience better, and seeing their plan showed me how much they cared.”

Overall, Kadri believes this commitment to mentorship provides a strong foundation for the success of medical students. The proactive approach, openness and reliability of faculty make students feel comfortable. “Faculty are at the stage that we are working toward, and we are grateful that they are there to pass on their wisdom.”