The Future of Medicine: Medical Mentoring

March 02, 2018

Medical Mentoring of the Fox Valley provides students a job shadowing opportunity of a lifetime.

Take a few highly motivated students pondering a career in health care, ask them to list their top three interests, and get them paired up with a medical professional for a one-on-one job shadow. Sounds like a simple plan.

It isn’t.

Medical Mentoring of the Fox Valley, founded in 2006 by Dr. David Eggert, has seen some changes since the orthopedic surgeon and the Orthopedic & Sports Institute (OSI) first teamed up with a single high school to offer 13 students a firsthand look at what a job in medicine entails.

The 2018 version of the program will draw nearly ten times that many students from 16 area high schools.

"We've come a long way since the beginning," said Eggert. "Our goal is to make this kind of authentic experience available to as many students as we possibly can."

And these students, whose selection is based on their academic performance and personal character, truly will receive “the opportunity of a lifetime,” as they will be paired with medical professionals from nearly 30 area healthcare organizations for experiences that simply cannot be duplicated.

“Each year we try to include more students because the interest is there,” said Tammy Oppermann, co-director of the program. “Students who have taken part in Medical Mentoring are our best advocates, spreading the word to their peers just how powerful the experience is.”

With the increased number of students to be served comes a corresponding need for more mentors to accommodate the group. 

“We could not execute the current program and meet the demands of the participants,” said co-director Katie Olp, “without the generosity – and the time commitment – of our local providers.”

Oppermann and Olp work with teachers and guidance counselors in January to begin the process of identifying student participants. Two months later students are selected, and in May the high school juniors are invited to OSI for a kickoff meeting that begins their experience. Here students have the opportunity to meet the program leadership, experience the facility as a hypothetical surgical patient, and sit down with their provider groups.

Over the summer, students spend three half-days observing mentors in their day-to-day work environments, including fast-paced clinical and surgery settings. Mentoring professionals have included doctors, dentists, physician assistants, physical and occupational therapists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, surgical techs, chiropractors, optometrists, orthotists, clinic business managers, and lawyers specializing in healthcare.

“We’ve put our heads together in order to make Medical Mentoring happen,” said Eggert. "The growth of this program is incredibly exciting."

The 2018 Medical Mentoring Calendar is as follows:

  • May 10 – Kickoff Meeting #1 @ OSI 
  • May 15 – Kickoff Meeting #2 @ OSI
  • June 1 – Shadowing Time w/Mentors Begins 
  • August 1 – Shadowing Time w/Mentors Ends
  • August 8 – Graduation @ Appleton North