Medical Program Personal Advisor Network

The UQ Medical Program strives to be globally renowned for the diversity of our student intake, the excellence of our education and the quality of our graduates. We aim to provide exemplary education and support to enable our students to become safe, effective interns and adaptable, life-long learners committed to improving patient and public health.  We recognise that targeted, high impact and quality support is a critical factor underpinning student success and satisfaction.

To this end, the Personal Advisor Network (PAN) was established as part of the Medical Student Support Strategy (2018-2020). This initiative provides targeted and individualised support for medical students and fosters a spirit of community and connectedness. Each student entering the Medical Program is assigned a personal advisor, who plays a valuable role in guiding and shaping the experience of medical students, one-to-one.

The Personal Advisor Rural Network (PARN) is a subset of the Personal Advisor Network. The PARN has been established with the specific purpose of supporting and encouraging students with a rural perspective. It has the additional aim of increasing the number of students whole elect to pursue a medical career in rural and remote communities, as well as supporting rural origin students.

Contact

Email: med.personaladvisors@uq.edu.au

 

The role

The personal advisor is a key point of contact and contributes to medical student support by:

  • Encouraging an appropriate work-life balance, healthy behaviours and extra-curricular activities;
  • Meeting at regular intervals to “check in” regarding academic progress and wellbeing;
  • Offering positive support and encouragement;
  • Providing guidance on adjusting to life as a medical student; and
  • Recommending other input or support services should difficulties arise.

Personal advisors will typically have responsibility for one or two students from each year group, although some personal advisors may choose to have up to four students from a year group, with a maximum of 12 students across all four years.

Personal advisors are asked to connect with their students at least three times a year (four times in the first year).  Meetings can occur face-to-face, online (Skype, Zoom, etc.) or by phone. Some of the meetings may be held jointly with other students; however, students should have the opportunity to request individual meetings, as needed. We estimate that the time allocated to each student over a year is approximately three hours.

We do not expect personal advisors to know about the Medical Program or the curriculum in detail. It will, however, help to have a working knowledge of the program. Personal advisors are provided with an overview of the MD Program, recommended talking points for each contact point and detailed advice regarding the support services available to students. In addition, there will be ongoing professional development and engagement opportunities.

Senior personal advisors

Each Clinical Unit site has a senior personal advisor who can provide assistance and support to personal advisors. The senior personal advisor promotes and champions the Personal Advisor Network within their unit and provides personal advisors with advice regarding the personal advisor role and any unusual or complex student cases. Personal advisors can contact their senior personal advisor if there are concerns about a student or they need help troubleshooting issues. Personal advisors will be clearly advised who the senior personal advisor is for their work unit at the beginning of each year.

Duration

The intention is to develop a longitudinal partnership which has continuity through a student’s program. We ask that personal advisors enter into the initiative with the anticipation that they will have contact with their allocated students over the duration of the Medical Program (four years). Personal advisors who are trained to advise Ochsner students will have contact with their allocated students for the first two years of their degree, which is spent in Brisbane.

Limitations

Personal advisors need to maintain a professional, boundaried relationship with their students at all times. The role does not extend to reviewing students work or providing detailed course related advice or specific personal advice.

Personal advisors are encouraged to refer students to the Medical Student Support Team for specialised support. Where possible, it is recommended that personal advisors refer with the student’s consent. 

Eligibility

Personal advisors need to be a UQ staff member or have a formal UQ affiliation, and have experience in the field of medicine or in working with medical students.

Getting started as a personal advisor

To sign-up as a personal advisor or for further information regarding the personal advisor role, please contact the Personal Advisor Network support team by emailing med.personaladvisors@uq.edu.au.

What is Chronus and is training available?

Chronus is a cloud-based solution that allows us to manage and track PAN and PARN connections. 

In 2019 Chronus was piloted with personal advisors based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital and their allocated students and, following a full evaluation, a decision was made to manage all future student and personal advisor connections using Chronus. 

Chronus allows the Faculty to provide a streamlined sign-up process and guided experience for students and personal advisors, match students with personal advisors to create meaningful mentoring experiences, and provide insightful data on network engagement.  Chronus’ mobile experience, including both Android and iOS apps, offers students and personal advisors the convenience of anytime, anywhere access to the network, with a consistent user experience across all devices.

Please view the Chronus User Guide for instructions on how to login, create a Chronus profile, send a message to your student(s), add new meetings, and download the Chronus app on your mobile device.  The Chronus User Guide will be emailed to all personal advisors when they sign-up to the network and is also readily available on the Resources page on Chronus. 

Personal advisors can login to Chronus and access their profile here