Open Access Correspondence

A practical approach to mentoring students with repeated performance deficiencies

Kevin McLaughlin1*, Pamela Veale1, Joann McIlwrick1, Janet de Groot2 and Bruce Wright1

Author Affiliations

1 Office of Undergraduate Medical Education, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada

2 Office of Equity and Teacher-Learner Relations, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada

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BMC Medical Education 2013, 13:56  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-56

Published: 19 April 2013



With the increasing use of competency-based evaluations we now have more and better ways to identify performance deficiencies in our learners. Yet the emphasis placed on identifying deficiencies appears to exceed that given to improving these deficiencies.


Here we describe the program at the University of Calgary for mentoring students with repeated performance deficiencies. We focus primarily on the key steps of mentoring and remediation, and establishing a program that provides consistency and accountability to this process.


A small cohort of trainees with persistent performance deficiencies may need intensive remediation to reach the expected level of performance. Ultimately, not all learners will be successful in their remediation, but we feel that it is the responsibility of training programs to provide mentorship and an organized approach to remediation in order to maximize the chances of successful remediation.