Re: Mentors and mentoring

Thanksgiving 2005. What a magnificent day to read the articles on mentoring (BCMJ 2005;47[7]). I hope the fact that English is my fourth language will not limit my ability to express my heartfelt sentiments: Hurrah! Hurrah! Congratulations! What wonderful articles. Obviously I share with the sentiments expressed in them. Mentorship has been defined magnificently.

These pages must be distributed to all medical students in their third year of study. They should be sent to the government and to university deans. They should also be required reading for all residents-in-training. As for the clinical teachers, need I remind you that we also learned all we know from selfless teachers? 
Do we raise our families with expectations of monetary reward? I do not think so.

—Alexander G. Nagy, MD

Dr Rae responds

We are pleased with Dr Nagy’s enthusiastic endorsement of our theme issue on mentors and mentoring. We emphasized the need for large numbers of practising clinical faculty to mentor if we are to reverse the doctor shortage in BC.

The question of payment for teaching as such was not discussed but authors stressed that such an ambitious mentoring program must be fully funded, including the infrastructure required to support the teachers. Furthermore, it is an acknowledged fact that to teach well takes time, time that will inevitably reduce that available for patients and result in loss of income—a loss hard-pressed clinical faculty cannot be expected to bear and for which it is only right they be compensated. There can be little value in teaching that takes no time. The Canadian Medical Association has recognized this with their motion of August this year advising both governments and universities to provide funding for clinical faculty teaching.[1] Alberta and Ontario have already done so and have given millions of dollars for the purpose.

Raising a family is not an apt analogy for clinical faculty any more than it is for salaried faculty or those on alternative payment plans, including CASCs, all of whom are, quite properly, well compensated for their teaching.

That said, we thank Dr Nagy for his comments which can only help in our efforts to ensure both the success of our expanding medical school and fair treatment of clinical faculty teachers.

—Angus Rae, MB


1. CMA. Reports to General Council: 138th Annual Meeting, 2005.

Alexander G. Nagy, MD, Angus Rae, MB, FRCPC. Re: Mentors and mentoring. BCMJ, Vol. 47, No. 10, December, 2005, Page(s) 535 - Letters.

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