In this episode of the AGA podcast Small Talk, Big Topics, hosts Drs. Matthew Whitson and Nina Nandy interview Dr. Sheryl Pfeil. Sheryl is a professor of clinical medicine and a gastroenterologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She is a big name in medical education, and she also directs the clinical simulation center at the Ohio State University. Sheryl is an active mentor, and Matthew is one of her mentees! He and Nina are excited to talk with her today, and are most looking forward to discussing her journey into the medical education field, an overview of her career, and her thoughts on mentorship.
As the interview begins, Sheryl explains the serendipitous way in which she made her way into the medical education field and some details of the field itself. As she explains, there are many career options within the medical education field, including different forms of teaching and other leadership roles. There is a lot of crossover between the education and clinical spheres, and there is much value to be found in maintaining a foot in each sphere. There is, after all, an obligation to pursue scholarship within both clinical and educational roles. Clinical practitioners uninterested in teaching may also be helped to become better educators within their current roles by seeking training in education. Further, such training can bolster a resume, give a trainee a sense of whether or not he/she would like to pursue the educational side of medicine, and feed into diverse mentoring relationships.
This topic of mentorship is one of Sheryl’s great career passions; she has been helped by mentors throughout her career, and she is committed to mentoring others. Sheryl says that teachers who care about their students often naturally become mentors and explains her own process of realizing that she could mentor as part of her career. Further, she details where and how listeners can find mentors, shares personal stories of making connections, and comments on ways to network effectively and things to pursue in mentorship. Sheryl and her hosts consider the qualities of a strong mentor, such as inclusivity and empathy. Finally, Sheryl highlights the need for bravery and confidence in navigating one’s career and talks about how she helps instill courage in her mentees.