Insights on an Odyssey - Developing a mentoring scheme for International Medical Graduates working in Psychiatry

Is a mentoring scheme what we need?  

We identified a need to improve the experience of International Medical Graduates (IMG’s) working in psychiatry within ABUHB. IMG’s account for around ¼ of all doctors registered with the GMC. IMG’s are often relied upon to service provision and are often faced with struggles such as language barriers, cultural assimilation, and career progression. By definition: A mentor is someone who helps another person through an important transition such as coping with a new situation like a new job or a major change in personal circumstances or in career development or personal growth.  From our experience within ABUHB, we felt there may be more we could do to support this important part of the workforce.  
 
Our working hypothesis is IMG’s in this transition period which can be stressful as well as challenging as new demands are made upon individuals are in need of guidance and support in order to develop confidence and competence.


Method

We sent an online questionnaire to all International Medical Graduates employed to ABUHB in 2017 to identify difficulties they faced when starting work in . We identified consultants interested in mentorship and arranged for them to undergo training in this.


Results

The response rate to our questionnaire was 100%. We identified difficulties with training, knowledge, language barriers, communication skills, social isolation and cultural assimilation. Strengths within ABUHB included good peer support and supportive consultants.


Conclusion

We identified that IMG’s working with ABUHB faced considerable difficulties. We have now begun creating a mentorship scheme to provide further support for them. This needs to be embedded and further evaluated.