Overcoming the myth of career shock with Personal Learning Plans

Submitted by UBC Rural CPD

A physician shares their experience moving to British Columbia and how a Personal Learning Plan (PLP) helped them.

My Experience:

Having been in the medical profession for over 18 years with five (5) years of experience as a practicing GP, I thought I had all it takes to work as a GP in Canada when I relocated from Nigeria. This was true about clinical knowledge, but we all know that the practice of medicine is more than the stuff in the books. I’ve always had a passion for chronic pain, mental health and addictions, but there are cultural and social differences in Canada. Providing holistic care to complex patients with limited resources was a challenge I did not know how to resolve.

With each passing day, I realized I needed to do something different. I was feeling burnt out and there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel. Then, I got an email about a program set up for international medical graduates to assist in navigating the health care system and accessing resources that will help with their practice, called Personal Learning Plans. I decided to give it a trial, which I will forever be grateful for because it brought a significant change to my practice.

PLP is a free and personalized concierge service run by UBC’s Division of Continuing Professional Development that supports international medical graduates (IMGs) in British Columbia identify and achieve practice goals, navigate the continuing professional development landscape, and support success in community and practice. PLP connects participants, with a physician advisor, and a concierge, who work together to identify learning goals and needs, formulate a personal learning plan, and connect with the necessary resources and local regional or specialty networks.

MY PLP Journey:

I had my first PLP meeting via teleconference. We discussed challenging areas in my practice and my goals. The team provided me with resources and connected me with programs, workshops and courses that helped in achieving my goals. I worked with a great team who were supportive and the goals and implementation were solely on my terms. I never felt pressure to complete my goals.

PLP has successfully supported many physicians’ personal and professional success. From building confidence in EMR, billing or point-of-care ultrasound; to enhancing clinical skills in emergency medicine and mental health care; to seeking psychosocial and exam study support; to setting up coaching opportunities; PLP has been able to help.

My Practice Now:

I am able to provide a holistic approach to the management of chronic non-cancer pain and counsel my patients with the skills acquired from Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programs. There has been a reduction in opioid prescription. Some patients have been tapered off, while some are in the tapering process. I have also seen a significant reduction in burnout. Overall, both the patient-doctor relationship and patient health outcomes have improved!

For more information, visit ubccpd.ca/plp or email cpd.learningplans@ubc.ca.