Submitted by UBC Rural Continuing Professional Development
Mentorship has long been an effective strategy to support physicians adjusting to rural practice. UBC CPD’s New-to-Rural Practice Physician Mentoring Program has turned this approach into an invaluable support for physicians in rural British Columbia.
The uptake for mentees has been very successful for the next round of the program. However, UBC CPD is still seeking more mentors to join the program. If you are an experienced rural physician, we encourage you to apply!
The program pairs physicians who are new to rural practice with experienced rural physicians who serve as mentors for eight months. Mentors provide support encompassing both the personal and professional needs of the mentees. Some benefits for mentors include developing collegiality, networking, giving back to the profession, and earning an honorarium.
There is no cost to enroll in the program and participants will receive up to 17.0 Mainpro-C credits. Compensation of participating mentors is generously funding by the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC).
The pilot phase of the program (2014-2015) was a great success and provided benefits to both mentor and mentee participants. Mentees, in particular, felt increased confidence and satisfaction with their medical career, better preparedness to live and practice in rural, and supported both socially and professionally.
“I actually think that [the mentorship] relationship allowed [my mentee] to stay his entire return of service […] his program was very urban centric and his return of service community was a community in crisis […] so he really felt uncomfortable with the skills set that he had coming to work in our community.” – Mentor
“At different levels, [my mentor] helped me to stay focused and continue to learn. Through this year, I feel that I have been able to rebuild my confidence and that is part of it–through the mentoring program I know there is always someone to ask a question.” – Mentee, Canadian Medical Graduate
“One drawback [to working rural] is feeling alone, isolated, and separated from colleagues, so anything that makes people feel more comfortable and connected – that is filling a need.” – Mentee, International Medical Graduate
The next iteration of the RCPD mentoring program, set to kick off in spring 2016, will incorporate the lessons learned from the pilot to build an improved program. Some of the key lessons include:
- “Tools not rules” approach: providing paperwork and guiding tools for establishing and maintaining effective mentor-mentee relationships, but not making them mandatory
- Promoting face-to-face interactions early-on
- Encouraging mentor-mentee co-location when matching the pairs
- Guidance/training for mentors on how to build a relationship with mentees in an authentic way using tools provided in the program
- Utilizing a robust evaluation process that is adaptable to participant preferences, for example post-program evaluations administered through online survey and having an alternative option of a phone interview
Application Package (PDF)
Application Package (PDF)