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We are (paediatric) family: a peer-mentoring programme
  1. Stephanie Tolan
  1. North Central London Health Authority, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Stephanie Tolan, Paediatrics and Child Health, North Middlesex Hospital, London N18 1QX, UK; stephanietolan{at}

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Paediatric trainees receive formal support through the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) in the form of clinical and educational supervision. While this is important, there is evidence to suggest that junior trainees learn the most from their colleagues on the shop floor through peer mentoring rather than in supervisor meetings.1

In 2014, the Paediatric Family Project was set up within the London Deanery to provide peer-mentoring support for first year paediatric specialty trainees (STs). Every new ST1 trainee, ‘the child’, is matched with a volunteer ST4 or above, ‘the parent,’ forming a ‘family’. This mirrors the system used throughout many universities and provides a more informal support service. A yearly survey is sent out to all participants and changes are made according to the responses.

This article will discuss the role of peer mentoring within paediatric training, drawing on experience and evidence from the Paediatric Family Project, before providing advice for the reader on how to run a successful peer-mentoring programme.

What is peer mentoring and why is it useful?

The RCPCH defines peer mentoring as a mentoring relationship between individuals who are: ‘equal in age, experience and rank’.1 In the workplace, this typically manifests as senior trainees providing peer mentorship for junior trainees. This differs from clinical and educational supervision. The RCPCH uses the General Medical Council definition of a supervisor: ‘a trainer who is selected and appropriately trained to be responsible for the overall supervision and management of a specified trainee’s educational progress.’2 Formal supervision is often constrained by time limitations and the need to address specific portfolio-based outcomes. Mentorship is usually mentee led, meaning that the mentee takes the responsibility …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.