Jan. 18, 2023

Postdoctoral scholar highlights importance of mentorship

Dr. Kirnvir Dhaliwal says mentorship experiences have helped her 'think outside the box'

“Positive, active mentorship has guided me in my career. In my current role, my mentor provides more than a professional, academic research environment, he really cares about my success and offers me support.”

Dr. Kirnvir Dhaliwal, RN, MN, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow in the Dept. of Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) under the supervision of Dr. David Campbell, MD, PhD. She has received great mentorship in her clinical nursing practice and academic experiences. Mentorship has guided her along the way and helped to develop a passion for research with the aim of helping others.

Dhaliwal’s research focuses on diabetes in the context of incarceration. She also undertakes research regarding sick day medication guidance with another team at CSM.

Dhaliwal can’t say enough about the importance of good mentorship. For her, a good mentor is present, actively listens, assists when questions arise and celebrates the success of their mentees. She says emotional support is also a key attribute of a good mentor, adding it’s something her supervisor provides their entire team.  

“As a team, we are comfortable approaching Dr. Campbell, and we can discuss our thoughts and feelings. That is really important for success.”

A good mentor also provides opportunities and broadens your network, says Dhaliwal.

“Dr. Campbell goes above and beyond, not only to help me connect and network with others, but also in providing opportunities like professional development activities,” she says. “This has helped me develop my interpersonal and research skills.”

Dhaliwal also has the opportunity to develop her mentorship skills. It’s something she is grateful for, explaining the experience not only helps her grow as a researcher and clinician, but she also learns from her mentees. For example, she has mentored her team members in undertaking qualitative research and scoping reviews.

Overall, Dhaliwal’s experiences have helped her think outside the box and open herself to multiple possibilities when it comes to her career.

“I have developed flexibility,” she says. “I hope I can pass what I have learned on to others as a mentor. Ultimately, I want to use my skills to help others.”

Dr. David Campbell is an assistant professor in the departments of Medicine, Cardiac Sciences and Community Health Sciences at the CSM and a member of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute and O’Brien Institute for Public Health.