March 11, 2021

‘Intern to Consultant’ mentoring held online

For the first time in the Medical Education Unit’s history, the mentoring program for interns was rolled out online.

There was both excitement and trepidation from Dr Carol Chong, Intern Supervisor, who explained that the team couldn’t put the interns and consultants together in a room to meet each other, unlike the previous ten years of the program.

“We improvised and ran it via MS Teams. It was a very quick decision as lockdown 3.0 was announced four days prior to the session running,” said Dr Chong.

More than 18 senior medical staff tuned into the virtual session to introduce themselves and to talk candidly about their experiences as interns.

“Effective mentorship can make a real difference in guiding decision making for our interns in important areas such as career planning and work-life balance,” said Dr Chong. “It is incredibly heart-warming that 103 consultants volunteered to be mentors to our 45 new interns this year.”

Some of the consultants have been mentors for many years and have gone above and beyond for their mentees. Examples include Dr Jackie Yoong, Oncologist and Palliative Care Consultant, who went on a 10km charity fun run with her mentee. Also, Mr Rodrigo Teixiera, Plastic Surgeon’s mentorship resulted in one of his mentees becoming a research fellow in plastic surgery at Northern Health.

“The aim of the program is to match an intern to a consultant mentor mainly based on the specialty he or she is interested in or would be a good fit. Prior to the online session, the Medical Education Unit staff, Susie Sangas, Medical Education Manager and Rebecca Hartmann, Medical Education Assistant, emailed interns and consultants who they were matched in a very short turnaround. Despite the change to the online session this year, the mentoring session was still rated highly by the large number of interns who tuned in.”

“Mentors and mentees are expected to meet at least once a term during the year,” explained Dr Chong.

“Our mentoring philosophy is to create a connection between a senior doctor and intern, and to provide a safe haven where it is possible to share experiences, reflect, seek advice or discuss sensitive issues without prejudice.”

“The simplicity of the program is one of the reasons for its longevity, as well as the incredible support of our consultants,” reflected Dr Chong.

Featured image: Dr Carol Chong, Supervisor of Intern Training; right hand corner Dr Pavany Arulliah, General Medical Consultant and her mentee Dr Helen Pho, Intern