RealMD is a program that promotes a greater connection to professional purpose in medicine. It is focused mainly on the professional identity development of medical students and trainees. The objectives of the RealMD program are:
- PURPOSE: Clearer Sense of Purpose. Students and members of the community have greater clarity and connection with the reason they are in medicine or medical education. They will be better able to withstand external pressures related to performance which often take away from purposeful learning.
- COMMUNITY: Greater Sense of Empathy and Belonging. Students and members of the community can better relate to one another. People feel that they are known and cared for by the members of the professional community.
- MEANING: Greater Sense of Self-Determination. Students and members of the community can make choices about their education and professional experience which are more in line with their values and professional purpose.
Coaching within RealMD
Although RealMD uses many approaches towards developing professional identity and leadership (e.g. reflection, workshops, projects), the main approach is through the faculty-student coaching relationship.
When student begin their medical student experience, the program will assign students a faculty coach. Students are encouraged to meet with their coach at least once a semester, but many students meet more often than that. In the beginning, the coach will serve as a resource to reflect on one’s strengths and professional direction. The coach will also help students with understanding the importance of professional networking and setting goals. The most important outcome is that the faculty coach and the student develop a sense of trust and a sense that the coach is there for the best interest of the student.
The student and coach dyad will continue for all years of the medical student experience, thus providing a longitudinal foundation for the professional relationship to develop and deepen.