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PxP 2023 Day 1 Session 3: the participant Chat

Across the three days of PxP, we had some meaningful conversations and resource sharing taking place in the participant chat. In this summary, we aim to capture those discussions in a format that is anonymous and easy to digest. We recognise that this summary does not capture the full richness and level of detail of the conference chat. However, we hope this is a starting point for continuing these important conversations over the coming months.

Day 1, Session 3

Mentoring and being mentored: discover support available for patients, by patients.


1. There was agreement in the chat that various types of mentoring, such as peer mentorship, have a significant impact.

“I feel it's really valuable. It's made a huge difference for me on a personal level.”

2. Participants also named the importance of being able to ask questions in both formal and informal mentorship relationships.

“I still remember how much my heart pounded when I asked my first question that was not already laid out, at a research team meeting.”

3. Attendees named the importance of comfortability, safety, connection and trust within mentorship relationships. When asked what mentorship looks like for participants, responses included:

“Supporting someone and bringing them up and letting them shine in their strengths that they might not know about”

“it was help with the subtle stuff — understanding the cultural norms of the healthcare system ”

“encouragement, working through tough situations, helping articulate or build a case in a safe space.”

4. The participants also explored different informal mentorship relationships they have. One participant describing that “groups of [them] have found each other and mentor each other, based on the situation. That may be why you see so many mentors and mentored - it can be a circle”.

5. Generally, participants highlighted throughout the session the importance of being able to feel comfortable with their mentors and how that allows for opportunities for curiosity and growth. One participant saying that “mentoring means [they] don’t have to isolated and alone”. Another participant described how mentors give participants “strength to grow”.

6. The discussion continued around the impact mentors have on their mentees. Many participants felt that their mentors had seen strength in them and supported them in their confidence and growth.

“Some mentors gave me the voice to “roar” about how patients experience care. The confident gained from them enabled me to feel more confident to speak up.

“I couldn’t have done the work of patient engagement if not for many medical mentors I met along the way who moulded and shaped me to feel comfortable in using my voice to speak up for other patients. Invaluable! Some training has come formally form coffee and lunch break conversations….”

7. Specific mentorship programs from across Canada were mentioned, such as CanTrain as well as the Canadian Womens Heart Health Alliance being two that are working on launching soon. Plus, the Patient Advisors Network in Canada. There was discussion around whether patient partner opportunities are more readily available in North America than in Europe.

“I would say that mentorship started in the professional world and it seems to have been more of a North American 'thing' - but has spread to patients now and seems to be growing worldwide”

8. Some discussion sparked around the importance of developing mentorship programs for researchers too.

“Education and learning is more than an intro course.”

9. Advice was shared around addressing ‘difficult’ topics such as accommodations and compensation: “be diplomatic, unemotional, state your ask, and indicate best practice if it exists (and there are guides for compensation). This is how I would suggest to prepare for difficulty conversations. And practice up front!”. Another participant stated: “we can set our boundaries too.”

10. The conversations continued to explore some of the challenges around mentorship.

“I think navigating the power dynamic, speaking up assertively, and also recognizing systemic barriers that are actually holding the research teams back as well.”

“We all need support and help navigating power structures, dynamics and systems that we are unfamiliar with.”

Resources shared in the chat: