Peer support in uncertain times

Submitted by UBC Rural Continuing Professional Development

“Anyone can benefit from peer support,” says Dr. Bruce Hobson, experienced peer mentor, retired family physician and UBC RCPD’s Coaching and Mentoring Program (CAMP)’s new Senior Medical Lead.  

In the past two months under Dr. Hobson’s leadership, CAMP has made improvements to ensure the program is easily accessible to rural physicians who need peer support now more than ever. Increased optional skill development opportunities for mentor/coaches are available, and the onboarding process has been streamlined to facilitate strong matches just in time. 

UBC Rural CPD asked Dr. Hobson to tell us more about his own extensive background with peer support and how CAMP can support rural physicians during these uncertain and unprecedented times: 

What is your history with CAMP and peer support in general? 

BH: I’ve been interested in peer support since my early days in practice, when I was interested in sports medicine and also acting as a preceptor for medical students then Family Practice residents. I really got into supporting my peers with the Practice Support Program (PSP) modules from 2009 and then Doctors of BC’s Physician Information Technology Office (PITO) with the EMR from 2010. I continue supporting peers through PSP and the Doctors Technology Office.  

I was matched with a mentee in the very first cohort of the Rural Physician Mentoring Program and have had three people that I’ve mentored in that program. 

As an experienced peer mentor, have you noticed any common themes in the kinds of supports people need right now? 

BH: Right now, people are worried…about the pandemic and how it is affecting their practices, employees, patients, income, families and their own personal wellness. They are trying to figure out how they can best care for their patients, while they deal with new technology, practice workflows, patient anxiety and their changing workload. 

In one or two sentences, how would you explain what “peer support” means to you? 

BH: Peer support is about being available to support fellow physicians from where they’re at and helping them get to where they want to be, whether that is coaching, mentoring, instructing or teaching. 

Who should consider signing up to receive peer support? How could it help them thrive in practice? 

BH: Anyone can benefit from peer support. We all are aware of areas we want to improve, areas we are interested in and know that there are things we don’t even know. Having a safe place and a trusted person to talk about these things opens up opportunities to make ourselves better physicians and people. 

How can mentors and coaches expect to benefit from the program? 

BH: Working with your peers will give you a sense of satisfaction and purpose to your practice and personal life. It is an opportunity to meet passionate and dedicated professionals all around the province. It’s an opportunity to learn from others as much as they learn from you. It’s an opportunity to make a difference. 

CAMP supports physicians in rural BC to build meaningful collegial relationships for mutual learning and knowledge exchange. Mentee/ coachees can access up to 35 hours of accredited personalized peer support in areas such as virtual care, addictions medicine, emergency medicine, mental health, personal wellness, clinical areas pertinent to COVID-19, and more. Mentor/coaches are offered hourly payments, CME credits and optional professional development sessions to enhance key skills they can use to help support their colleague(s). More information can be found on the CAMP website, or through contacting Program Coordinator Jenna Lightbody at  

Click here to sign up today: