The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

Tales From a Breast Surgeon

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Valentina Bonev, a board certified and fellowship trained breast surgical oncologist. They talk about how she decided on her subspecialty and how to seek out mentors in your chosen field.

  • [00:47] Introducing Dr. Valentina Bonev
  • [02:37] Why Breast Surgical Oncology?
  • [07:30] How to Make Your Application Stand Out
  • [09:46] Finding Mentors in Medicine
  • [15:52] Dr. Bonev’s Passions Outside of Medicine
  • [17:48] What Dr. Bonev Would Change About Healthcare

Be an Exceptional Surgical Applicant

Even before residency applications start, show interest during rotations. Make your enthusiasm known by being proactive. This will surely leave a good impression. It’s helpful to find a mentor who you can form a relationship with and learn from. By working closely together, they can write a letter of recommendation to endorse your strengths. Aside from this, it’s also a good idea to participate in relevant research. If the paper is published or presented at a conference, all the better!

Be honest about your shortcomings and communicate what you’ve learned from those experiences. Lying on your application or interview is a surefire way to sabotage your chances. Another word of advice: try to maintain a good professional relationship with your colleagues because you may end up working together one day. Residency programs look for well-rounded individuals who have exposed themselves to their chosen field.

How to Seek Out Mentorship

Join an interest group and contact the coordinator or president. Typically, interest groups have a roster of physicians who are eager to teach. Dedicate some time to shadowing them, assisting surgeries or joining whatever opportunity comes up. By getting to know the resident and attending physicians, they can take you under their wing and show you the ins and outs. If you find that a certain specialization is not enjoyable, you can always explore other fields.

To learn more about how MedSchoolCoach can help you along your medical school journey, visit us at Prospective Doctor. You can also reach us through our social media:


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Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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