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PCCAMP - Primary Care Career Advisement and Counseling Program

Skills for Advising

Careers In Medicine and Eight Key Skills in Advising Students 1

Skills for Career Advising1. Reflection is the restating of the student’s comment.  It allows the student to know you are listening and promotes continued commentary.

"From where I stand, you are saying…"
"It sounds as if…"

2. Leading statements or questions allow the student to discuss the topic or give a solution to a problem.

"What do you see as your career options?"
"What happened then?"

3. Clarification involves the stating of implied feelings or issues behind a student’s verbal communication.

"You sound frustrated,"
"It appears as if you’re struggling with this choice."

4. Providing information and resources requires the advisor to know the resources and information available to students.  Below are several resources:

-Careers In Medicine at
-Society of Teachers of Family Medicine at
-American Medical Student Association at
-Freida Database of Residency Programs at

5. Summarization is a review of what has been discussed thus far in the advising sessions.  This summary allows for reflection.

6. Task setting is asking the student to gather information or take care of issues directly relevant to their current situation.  The advisor is leading the student to action.

7. Establishing the "yes, buts" involves identifying the student’s chief concerns, main obstacles, or roadblocks.  Help student identify small, easily attainable steps that they can take, mostly in the form of gathering information.

8. Questioning is comprised of two main types:

Closed questions are intended to yield brief specific information.

"Do you like medical school?"
"Did you do well on Step 1 exams?"

Open-ended questions are used to encourage the student to talk at greater length on a topic.  These are best used in the advising setting.

"How do you feel about your rotation?"
"Why did you select a rotation in dermatology?"

Adapted in January 2013 from Careers in Medicine Advising Students at

Primary Care Career Advising and Mentoring Program
263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860-679-7969

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