Waikato Faculty focus 

20 April 2021

By staff writer

More support and advice for new Fellows  has been made available as part of the mentorship scheme Ka Hono, masterminded by the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Faculty.

The mentoring initiative pairs new doctors with senior GPs who have a career’s worth of knowledge and experience at their disposal. Until now, every Fellow had access to five mentoring sessions a year, and now new Fellows can access two additional sessions per year, for two years.

“Our focus within the Faculty is about connection and education, so a mentoring programme just made sense,” explained Fiona Whitworth, Faculty Chair. “Ka Hono has only been in place for around six months, but the feedback we are getting is very positive from both the mentorees and the mentors themselves.

“We are encouraging all our new Fellows to take up this offer, either when they’re contacted by the Faculty, or by signing  up via the Ka Hono scheme on the college website (Waikato member login required). After years of training with people around you and supporting you, it can be a frightening thing to suddenly be out there on your own. Pairing up with a mentor can ease that transition, ” says Fiona.

"The symposium is great way to bring members together to learn and to network, and I know people look forward to it.”

The Waikato/Bay of Plenty Faculty area runs from Waihi to the East Cape and across to Hamilton, encompassing Rotorua and Tāupo.

Fiona, who has also been the Lead Medical Educator for the Bay of Plenty region, and is currently a Fellowship assessor, says the team is keen to hear from local members to find out what they would like from the Faculty, be it social events, educational workshops and lectures, or advocacy.

“Communication is key so we know what our members want from us,” says Fiona. “We have found email to be fairly unreliable, so will be connecting with peer groups in person to hear how we can best serve them.

“It is important to us because we feel that we need to be a portal of information for the College, both in terms of passing on announcements or news updates and in advising the policy-makers there what will work and what won’t for the benefit of all GPs.”

The 10-strong management team is currently planning the annual symposium, which will be held in Papamoa from 24-26 September.

“Our focus within the Faculty is about connection and education, so a mentoring programme just made sense.” 

“The symposium is great way to bring members together to learn and to network, and I know people look forward to it.” says Fiona.

Future projects include the potential to provide funding support to members who wish to carry out research pertinent to the area and general practice.

“This is very exciting; to be able to carry out research that will directly benefit those who feature in it,” says Fiona. “We know there are members out there who have ideas for a research project, we have the funding capability, so it’s just a matter of putting them together, really.”

She welcomes input from any Faculty member and encourages people to get in touch so they can be kept up-to-date with news and future events.