I’m a paediatric trainee from the Kent, Surrey and Sussex deanery in my 7th year of training. 2 years ago I set-up a peer mentoring programme within my deanery. It was always something I had wanted to do after experiencing how much of a positive effect a good mentor can have on your training and also other aspects of your life too. I also wondered if it may help the increasing number of junior doctors suffering from mental health problems and aid retention of trainees which is a very prevalent issue with increasing number of junior doctors leaving training creating even more pressure on an already strained work force.
For the past 2 years every new ST1 has been offered a place within the programme as a mentee with about 90% uptake. At the beginning of each year I arranged a training day for all those who were ST2 and above who wanted to become mentors. I then matched the mentees and mentor based on geography and interests. The mentors and mentees have then met-up at least three times a year. The most inspiring aspect of this project has been how so many trainees are so keen to give up their time to support their fellow trainees. It’s only because of this that projects like this can work.
The next stage is to try and expand the programme to provide mentors for all trainees of all levels who would like one. The limiting factor has been the number of people who can attend a training day to become a mentor due service provision. Hence, we are currently developing an online module on e-learning for health so people can train to be mentors online. This should be available for use before the end of this year and any training school will be able to use it from any deanery.
Please contact me if you are interested in setting up a peer mentoring scheme within your deanery: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will also be presenting the scheme at the DEMEC in Manchester on 28th November this year and would love to talk to anyone who would be interested in creating their own scheme.