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Coaching and Mentoring in Northern Ontario (CAMINO)

NOSM University’s Coaching and Mentoring in Ontario (CAMINO) program is designed to help cultivate a thriving mentorship culture within the medical community of Northern Ontario. CAMINO’s inception was driven by a recognition of the vital role mentorship plays in the development of a flourishing physician workforce with connections to rural communities.

The CAMINO program is funded by the Northern Ontario Academic Medicine Association (NOAMA) and is a mentorship program encompassing four distinct streams of mentorship: Transition to Practice for residents who are entering practice, Clinical Teaching, Rural Generalist mentorship for learners during the MD degree program and Research (in development). Through structured mentorship, CAMINO not only supports the individual growth of mentors and mentees but also contributes to the overarching goal of enhancing education and practice across Northern Ontario.

Core Elements of CAMINO

Mentorship within CAMINO is designed to be both formal and outcome-oriented, with a clear expectation that mentors and mentees will be supported through their medical journey. This necessitates that mentors are not just experienced physicians but also educators who have been equipped with mentoring skills through targeted training. CAMINO includes an educational component, aimed at developing mentorship and coaching skills among faculty mentors.

CAMINO Principles

  • Connection: CAMINO is a relationship-based program centered on building supportive relationships between learners and clinical faculty that provide support and guidance.
  • Goals/Learning Plan: There need to be “tools, not rules” so that mentors and mentees are equipped to develop and shift as goals and learning plans change over time. Mentees will identify their own needs and goals.
  • Listening, Advising, Questioning and Supporting: A formal mentorship program carries a level of accountability that is helpful. The program has a degree of formality – structured with clear guidelines, inclusion criteria, participant expectations (for both mentor and mentee) and formal evaluation.
  • Continual Feedback Loop: Training opportunities and the use of specific tools to enhance learning and promote learner success will be provided by the CAMINO program. The program is a safe, confidential and non-reporting program that provides participants a safe environment for confidential interactions between mentor and mentee, and with program staff. There is no reporting back to the program – although there is opportunity to evaluate the program.
  • Personal and Professional Growth: The CAMINO program strives to provide the opportunity to adapt a relationship to the needs of the mentee and mentor, including both personality fit and time commitment, as the mentorship relationship evolves over time.

Foundation and Future of CAMINO

The journey toward establishing CAMINO at NOSM University reflects a broader recognition of the value of skilled mentorship. It highlights the commitment to nurturing a culture of continuous learning and support among its faculty and learners. By facilitating shared learning experiences and fostering a community of practice among mentors, CAMINO aims to enhance clinical education, practice and research in Northern Ontario.