UBC Rural CPD launches Coaching and Mentorship Program (CAMP)

submitted by UBC Rural Continuing Professional Development

UBC Rural Continuing Professional Development (RCPD) has recently launched its highly anticipated Coaching and Mentoring Program (CAMP) to support rural physicians who are seeking to enhance their clinical practice and education. The RCPD CAMP team will meet with individuals, teams or communities to explore clinical coaching and mentorship opportunities to help providers improve their confidence and hone their skills in the rural setting

How is clinical coaching different from mentorship and how will it enhance my practice?

Clinical coaching has a lot of overlap with mentorship as they are both learner-driven, supportive relationships for individuals and teams. We tend to use the term mentorship to refer to a relationship where the goals are primarily non-clinical (e.g. adapting to a new rural community or career change, personal support in a clinical context) and coaching to refer more to clinical professional development goals (e.g. excellence in emergency medicine, obstetrical or anesthetic skills), while recognizing that building confidence and relationships are key to both. Clinical coaching recognizes the coachee as the expert in what they need to learn and protects their confidentiality throughout the process (i.e. no reporting to the Health Authority, Colleges or others) in order to build trust and openness of communication.

How effective is clinical coaching in a rural setting?

To some extent coaching and mentoring has always occurred in rural medicine through the informal flow of information and expertise between colleagues. The CAMP program recognizes and enhances this natural process and provides training to coaches and CPD credits to all participants for these activities. The effectiveness of the program is confirmed by the popularity of the currently funded programs and the positive feedback from both coaches and coachees in the Emergency Medicine, Rural Surgical and Obstetrical Network and Family Physician Anesthetist streams.

What are the participant’s obligations?

Coachees have a great deal of flexibility in creating their programs with the help of the RCPD CAMP team. Coaching can be delivered in a number of different formats, with options to remain in community, travel to a distant site or obtain coaching virtually. All coaches in the CAMP program undergo a training program and can either be specialist physicians, family physicians or other clinicians with enhanced skills. Coaches may be located within the same community as the coachee or outside of their community as the program supports visits by coaches to a rural site or vice versa.

Who can access CAMP?

Any rural physician in British Columbia is eligible and teams or communities can also apply. 

Rural locums are potentially isolated from peers and can qualify and benefit from our programs including the New to Rural Practice Mentorship program. We try to respond to the needs of specific groups including international medical graduates who have the challenges of adapting to a new medical culture as well as transitioning to rural practice.

For further information, please contact the RCPD CAMP team at camp.rcpd@ubc.ca or via phone at (604) 675-3777.

Do I need to bring my own coach?

We encourage coachees to find a coach who is a good ‘fit’ for them, so if the coachee has someone in mind, we encourage them discuss this option at the beginning of the program. If the coachee does not have someone particular in mind, we will assist in finding a coach.

What kind of education/activities qualify for CAMP support?

We support a wide range of activities depending on the needs of the coachee. Examples include support for family practice anesthetists, mentorship for new to rural physicians, support in adapting to hospital or emergency room work, and support in taking on a new area of medicine such as palliative care. CAMP also provides support for a whole community or department, like with the RSON (Rural Surgery and Obstetrics Network) program and the new ROAM (Rural Obstetrics and Maternity) program. These programs involve coaching members of the whole team including nursing, midwives and physicians.

CAMP programs are not designed to provide the intense training to take on a new area of practice. For example, someone who is not already privileged to perform deliveries would not use coaching to fulfill that goal. However, a coachee might use CAMP as a tool to support and consolidate their obstetrical or emergency medicine skills in the context of a remote rural setting.

Is there a cost?

At present the program is funded with support from the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC). The CAMP model provides up to 6 days of funding to mentors or coaches to support their participation. Funding is generally not provided to the mentees and coachees, except in circumstances where the coachee is travelling to receive coaching. CAMP participants can receive Mainpro+ and MOC credits for participating in program activities.

How effective is coaching and mentorship at increasing rural practice success?

Rural practice success can be improved through ongoing continuous quality improvement and education, strong clinical skills and confidence, and enhanced supportive relationships. The CAMP program aims to provide the administrative structure and backbone support as well as training opportunities for coaches and mentors to allow these relationships to prosper. Our programs are under continuous review and development with iterative changes being made to effectively respond to the identified needs of participants.

Do you anticipate CAMP will improve recruitment and retention?

Our hope with the CAMP program is that by providing ongoing support to physicians in a rural and remote community, that recruitment will be improved through the establishment of supportive relationships. We already have examples of how CAMP has increased recruitment within communities by encouraging and supporting participants to engage in emergency and hospital work once they are settled into a rural environment.

The Coaching and Mentorship Program is supported by the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC)

For further information about the Coaching and Mentorship Program, please contact the RCPD CAMP team at camp.rcpd@ubc.ca or via phone at (604) 675-3777.