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Background to the Mentoring Program

Introduction

The goal of the Mentoring Program is to provide a structure within which mentees can identify knowledge gaps or questions, and proactively engage in clarifying and seeking advice within a respectful and supportive collaborative relationship.

The Program will also give mentors the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of community prescribing practices and to proactively support GPs in the treatment of viral hepatitis.

Participation, by both mentors and mentees, is entirely voluntary and is intended to increase clinical confidence, foster collaboration, and expand the formation of networks within the BBV sector.

What does mentoring entail?

Mentors are required to supportively guide their mentee by exploring clinical management issues. Examples of where guidance and advice may be required include complex case discussions; treatment questions; action planning; navigating systems processes (eg. filling scripts or accessing FibroScan); or assisting mentees to participate in the sector more broadly (eg. through research projects). Mentors will be expected to willingly share knowledge and experience in order to guide mentees practice.

Personal issues or career development goals are not considered topics to be addressed by the mentoring process. The tools and templates provided will help guide and structure the relationship.

In practice, mentors and mentees should schedule at least 4 meetings per year. It is expected that at least the first of these meetings will be face to face. Subsequent meetings can be face to face, via email, via skype or by telephone contact. Depending on the circumstances of the relationship, additional meetings may be agreed upon.

Clinicians who agree to act as a mentor will be able to specify how many mentees they feel able to support. If mentors feel able to support more than one mentee, they may wish to consider group meetings (subsequent to initial meetings which should be one-on-one for each mentee), provided this is mutually agreed upon by all mentees.

There will be an opportunity to attend clinical update networking workshops with other mentors and mentees to facilitate mentoring skills development.

The suggested formal period of mentorship is 18 months; this can be suspended at any point if either the mentor or mentee feels the process is not satisfactory. If agreed to by all parties, the mentorship may also be extended beyond 18 months.

In order to evaluate the formal mentoring process, mentors and mentees will be required to complete an anonymous questionnaire prior to, midway through, and at the end of the 18 month mentorship

Who can be a mentor?

A mentor must be an experienced clinician in viral hepatitis, accessible, approachable, and willing to guide the mentee and support the ongoing development of the sector. Mentors are NOT required to be specialists alone, and it is hoped that the pool of mentors will include senior clinicians of various disciplines including experienced GP prescribers and clinical nurse consultants (CNCS).

Clinicians who agree to act as mentors will be equipped with tools, templates and resources to guide them through the process .

Who can be a mentee?

All GPs wishing to prescribe treatment for hepatitis C and all current and future hepatitis B s100 community prescribers will be able to apply to access mentoring.

With Thanks to the Mentoring Program Steering Committee:

  • Dr Alice Lee, Gastroenterologist, Concord Hospital
  • Dr Amanda Wade, Infectious Diseases Physician, Director Liver Clinic, Barwon Health ­
  • Dr Annie Balcomb, General Practitioner, Orange Sexual Health Clinic
  • Dr Ben Cowie, Infectious Diseases Physician, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis ­
  • Dr Jacqui Richmond, Research Fellow, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne
  • Dr Joseph Lawler, Gastroenterologist, Staff Specialist, Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital
  • Ms Margery Milner, Viral Hepatitis Clinical Nurse Consultant, Royal Adelaide Hospital
  • Dr Mark Douglas, Infectious Diseases Physician, Storr Liver Unit, Westmead
  • ­Dr Nicole Allard, General Practitioner, Joslin Clinic
  • Ms Rosalie Altus, Clinical Nurse Consultant, AHA representative
  • Dr Tom Schulz, Infectious Diseases Physician, Royal Melbourne Hospital

Acknowledgements:

With thanks to Dr Emma Fox and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV and British HIV Association for sharing details of their Mentoring Scheme

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