Why Connections Matter

Doctors share their reflections on the importance of supporting one another while working at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

When Lucky Jain, MD, MBA, Pediatrician in Chief and Department of Pediatrics Chair and a member of the physician wellness advisory team, thinks back to his first days as a physician, he remembers the importance of mentorship.

“When I think back to my first days at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, I remember trying to juggle learning about the Children’s System and delivering medical care to our patients, all while trying to navigate how to take care of myself and balance work and life,” Dr. Jain says. “It would have been helpful to have another physician in the System serve as a resource to help find answers to questions, discover resources that may be helpful, and talk through questions or experiences on how to navigate and balance it all.”

The Physician Well-Being Mentor Program is here to bridge that gap for doctors new to our team. The goal of the program is to make the Children’s System feel a little smaller by offering new physicians a support system that is here for them if ever they need a helping hand or a reassuring pat on the back.

Andrew Reisner, MD, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Children’s, helped launch the Mentor Program. He answered a few questions about why this initiative means so much to him.

Why was it important to you to begin a mentor program at Children’s?

My first (and only other) job since completing my fellowship 20 years ago was at a wonderful children’s hospital in Louisville, Ky. That time was one of the most fulfilling periods of my career, thanks to the many deep and long-lasting friendships made with many colleagues from all disciplines. The small-town feel there seemed to encourage a sense of belonging and community. The purpose of the mentor program here at Children’s is to create the same small-town feel for everyone at this very large institution, which, in my opinion, provides the best medical care in the world given its size, resources and extremely talented physician body.

What are the benefits of having a mentor program such as this one?

The mentor is a resource to introduce the newly arrived physician to the Physician Wellness Program, potential leadership opportunities, and ways to serve Children’s and the larger community. I suspect this may turn out to be as beneficial to the more seasoned physicians as it is to the newly hired. While our primary focus is on the individual physician, the not-so-subtle implied secondary advantage is that a healthy, well-focused physician will deliver the best care to our young patients that he or she can. Other potential benefits include having an improved overall work environment and culture where all feel welcome, having a ready resource should it be needed, and having the potential to be directed to fun and fulfilling activities at Children’s and in the community at large.

What inspires you about this program?

I am inspired when I see anyone who is passionate about their work, whatever it may be. I see this daily among my physician and nurse colleagues alike. The mentor program is about mutually beneficial personal friendships that come from direct communication, usually starting over coffee. These personal relationships are especially important today, when the constant presence of electronic communication can present a false sense of depth and meaning. I would want each and every one of my colleagues to know that this program was established and made for them. If no one from the team has reached out to them, I would ask them to reach out so they can participate in this fun, exciting yet low-key program.

To learn more about the Physician Well-Being Mentor Program, email Kathleen Smith, a Program Manager at Children’s.

Mentoring supports physicians’ careers and helps connect healthcare providers.

Experienced Children’s physicians provide support to new physicians on the team, with an emphasis on staying healthy in mind, body and spirit. This enables our physicians to provide the highest levels of patient care.

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