From regional to national discussions: piloting a new approach to amplify the voice of our members
The adaptation of all Royal College activities to virtual environments over the last two years was a rapid and unexpected shift, but it brought with it some lasting opportunities. One such example: through the efficiency and accessibility of virtual meeting platforms, we can now reimagine our Royal College Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) meetings to facilitate nationwide discussions on key themes.
By moving discussions beyond the geographic areas that each RAC represents, we can diversify the voices, perspectives and experiences shared in discussions on themes that have been flagged by members as critically important to their careers and to improved care. In turn, the valuable feedback generated through these in-depth conversations will help inform and provide direction to the Royal College for improving the Fellow experience.
“These changes will enable more direct participation from Fellows across the country as we develop strategies to assist members in transition (early career and end of career), find ways to promote wellness and to focus attention on the need for improved access to care in rural and remote areas of the country,” says Roy Kirkpatrick, MD, FRCSC, FACS, chair, Regional Advisory Committee 3 (Ontario and Nunavut).
Pressing challenges facing specialist physicians
Traditionally, RAC meetings serve as an important mechanism to identify the emerging and ongoing concerns of Royal College members in each of our five regions. In recent years, several of the issues raised during the individual RAC meetings have carried similar themes, however the regional scope of the conversation has not promoted actionable solutions through the Royal College.
Some of the universal challenges faced by our members can be categorized in four general themes:
- transition into practice (first 5 years),
- transition out of practice (changing scope or retiring from active practice),
- physician wellness and burnout, and
- rural and remote practice issues.
Following a consultative process that included stakeholder conversations, focus groups, discussions at regional meetings and at the Fellowship Affairs Committee, there was strong support to pilot a new approach to regional committee work: a new meeting format where RAC members from all regions can explore these universal themes together and identify possible deliverables to assist all Royal College members.
Moving the conversations forward in 2022
In 2022, three RAC meetings will occur. During the first meeting (to be held later this spring) RAC committee members, gathering virtually by region, will identify in which of the four themed conversations they would like to participate. The next two meetings will consist of four separate discussions, involving a mix of members from each region, for each of the themes.
As this year will serve as a pilot program for the future direction of the RACs, the Royal College will evaluate all comments and ideas brought forward to consider how it can better serve the needs of members.
Have your say!
Using the form below, Fellows are invited to share information to help shape the national conversations that will occur in the coming months. The Royal College is seeking feedback on the experiences and challenges of individual members as they relate to any, or all, of the four themes identified. In addition, the Royal College welcomes your thoughts and ideas on how it can provide meaningful support to members in these areas.
All responses are anonymous. Once collected, the information will be shared with RAC members as part of their preparations for the national conversations to be held in 2022.