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Session: Education General ePoster Viewing [Return to Session]

Global Virtual Mentoring Program for Medical Physicists: Guidance Provided by An Online Survey

J Van Dyk1*, LJ Schreiner2, R Jeraj3, M Jalink2, (1) Western University, London, ON, Canada (2) Queens University, Kingston, ON, Canada (3) University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI


PO-GePV-E-14 (Sunday, 7/10/2022)   [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

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Purpose: Medical physics education, training, and continuing professional development in environments with limited resources can be enhanced by virtual mentoring especially when the availability of experienced mentors is sparse. Under the purview of Medical Physics for World Benefit, the purpose of this work is to implement an on-line perceptions survey to provide guidance on optimizing its virtual mentoring program.

Methods: The survey was developed with input from focus groups and validated by pilot testing. In addition to demographic data, questions were related to the best approaches to virtual mentoring, methods of matching mentor and mentee, and challenges and successes affecting the mentoring process. Survey invitations were sent out to multiple medical physics organizations, medical physics list servers, and professional contacts.

Results: There were 510 responders (66% male and 33% female) from 76 countries (65% from high-income countries and 35% low-to-middle income). 43% of responders reported little and 37% a lot of experience as mentors, while 53% had a little experience as a mentee and 23% a lot. The majority of responders would be interested in participating in a virtual mentoring program, either as a mentor (68%) or as a mentee (51%) (or both). Training was considered important (90% for mentors, 70% for mentees). The preferred option for connecting mentors and mentees was through informal personal connections. The results identified the top mentoring attributes, as well as factors and barriers influencing successful mentoring; preferences for matching mentors/mentees; frequency and length of meetings; the importance of defining clear expectations (97%), having a formal agreement (80%), and for ongoing assessment of the success of the mentoring process (via number of hours connected and regular reviews).

Conclusion: The survey results provide important guidance on optimizing the global virtual mentoring process, especially for advancing medical physics education and training in environments with limited resources.


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