Final call to ‘give something back to the GP community’

Morgan Liotta

24/11/2021 1:52:45 PM

Prospective GP mentors are being urged to apply for the RACGP Mentoring Program, with applications set to close on 30 November.

Two women walking in conversation
Experienced GP mentors can guide a junior GP through any challenges they may face early on in their career.

Dr Karina Lim knows from personal experience how valuable a mentorship can be for junior doctors.
‘I wish there had been a mentor program earlier on in my career,’ she told newsGP.
‘I found myself in a position where I had numerous competing interests for my time which I just could not continue to juggle. I ended up burning out, a common thing for doctors, and took six months off clinical practice to reset.
‘If I had access to the mentor program back then, things might not have had to reach that point for me to take action.’
The RACGP Mentoring Program provides experienced GPs the opportunity to share their wisdom and advice – guiding other college members through the earlier stages of their career to help achieve their goals.
The program aims to improve RACGP members’ wellbeing, career development and clinical knowledge.
The college is calling for experienced GP mentors, as well as mentees to join the program, ahead of the next round of applications closing this Tuesday 30 November.
Dr Lim, a 2020−21 mentor on the program, has had ‘the pleasure’ of mentoring three mentees since the program began. She describes her support role as someone who is a fellow GP separate from their workplace.
‘[As a mentor] I can be an impartial ear and provide independent advice,’ she said.
The program, which is available to all RACGP members and has an intake of approximately 60, will provide mentors and mentees with matching, training and support services over 10 months from January 2022.
At the start of each new program, mentees discuss with their mentors the expectations of the program and what they hope to gain from participating.
‘We usually meet via Zoom once per month for an hour or so,’ Dr Lim said.
‘Depending on the goals of the mentee, the meetings have varied from being quite structured with “homework”, to informal catch ups and debriefs.’
The benefits of the Mentoring Program go both ways, according to Dr Lim, who as a mentor has found the program ‘very rewarding’.
She believes GP mentors can have a significant impact on the career and life of a fellow GP, allowing them to ‘give back’ to their profession by helping to navigate any challenges the mentee may face in their general practice career.
‘The program has given me the opportunity to give something back to the GP community in a longer-term supportive collegial role,’ Dr Lim said.
‘I have been able to share my career experiences, mistakes, and lessons learned to benefit someone else. I have also learnt a lot from each of my mentees and the program has led me to self-reflect on my own career.
‘Whether this be from realising we could both benefit from similar techniques to appropriately set boundaries, problem-solving together, or taking time to learn something completely separate to medicine, like growing tomatoes.’
Upon completion of the full program, mentors earn 40 continuing professional development (CPD) points and mentees receive 20 CPD points.
Applications close Tuesday 30 November. More information is available on the RACGP website.
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