Making Valuable Connections

Two Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta physicians share their common bonds and experiences and share more insight into why mentorship is resourceful in healthcare, especially if you are a new physician.

They may never see one another during their busy workdays, but Thuy Bui, MD, a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Physician at Children’s Scottish Rite Hospital, and Krista Childress, MD, a Pediatric Gynecologist at Children’s, have a special connection.

Dr. Bui mentors Dr. Childress as part of the Children’s Physician Well-Being Mentor Program. Dr. Bui also serves as Co-Chair of the Social Well-Being Work Group, an important part of the Physician Wellness Advisory Committee. Recently, we talked with Drs. Bui and Childress about their relationship and why they both believe mentoring is important to a new physician’s career success.

Why do you feel mentoring new physicians is important to their ultimate success?

Dr. Bui: I think of a mentor as a guide, someone who helps a novice physician navigate this journey we call Children’s. Initially, that may mean a person you can call if you have any questions about how the System works, who to contact about certain issues, where to park, where to get lunch and more. Over time, I see this relationship evolving into a friendship, and with this friendship comes a better understanding of interests that will hopefully help lead to success in reaching personal or career-oriented goals, for not just the mentee but also the mentor.

Dr. Childress: Physician mentoring is a spectacular way to help make sure new physicians feel like they have a contact in the Children’s System to help them learn to navigate the hospital, make connections with other providers, and simply have a familiar face and friend to turn to with work and even life questions. Being a new physician can be stressful, and having a physician mentor can make the transition easier and more exciting overall.

Tell us about the friendship you’ve developed with each other and what you do to stay in touch.

Dr. Bui: Krista is an amazing and outgoing person, so she honestly doesn’t need much mentoring from me. She’s created a robust network of friends here at Children’s, and I’m lucky to be included in that network. We do text fairly regularly and touch base quite a bit regarding issues concerning our respective departments (Emergency Department and adolescent gynecology), and Krista was my date to the 2018 Big Deal Gala, one of many more fun experiences I hope we’ll be able to share.

Dr. Childress: Thuy is amazing! I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. She is an absolute blast, and I’m lucky to call her a friend. She has gone above and beyond, introducing me to everyone in the Scottish Rite Hospital Emergency Department and inviting me to give lectures at conferences to increase provider awareness of the new gynecology specialty here at Children’s. She was kind enough to ask me to join the Emergency Department table at The Big Deal Gala, and I had the chance to truly make lifelong connections and friendships with physicians at that event. Thuy has truly been there for me since I started at Children’s, and I can’t thank her enough for all she has done.

Why is social well-being so important to becoming a successful physician?

Dr. Bui: “Social” is defined in Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “involving allies” and “marked by pleasant companionship with friends or associates.” With that in mind, I feel that the Social Well-Being Work Group has two global aims: Improve patient care through a stronger network of “allies,” and decrease physician burnout by improving rapport through “pleasant companionship” with our fellow colleagues. I hope the events and programs created by the group will help establish or improve rapport and create a “family” atmosphere among providers at Children’s so that we are all not just a name on a consult form or a voice on a phone.

Dr. Childress: Social well-being is vital to the physical and mental health of any person, especially when people are starting a new career. Mentor programs should, therefore, be a staple to help new providers get a foot in the door and make a connection or develop a friendship with someone who can introduce them to the System and make the transition easier. The Physician Well-Being Mentor Program has been an important component to my success and happiness at Children’s.

What mentoring advice would you share with your peers?

Dr. Bui: I’ve been fortunate to have the most remarkable mentors every step of the way, and now it’s my turn to pay it forward. I’d encourage my colleagues to do the same, as the rewards are incredible.

Dr. Childress: My best advice is to introduce yourself to absolutely everyone. Don’t be shy; people want to make friends. I feel fortunate to have landed in a profession that I love, surrounded by people that make every day enjoyable. New providers are sure to make lifelong friends at Children’s, just like me. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

To become a Children’s physician mentor, 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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