MentorsWhat is a SWITCH shift?How to get on the teamHow to sign up for shiftsTestimonials


It is always such a pleasure to have new mentors on staff at SWITCH. Our mentors are experienced in their field and come from all different health disciplines, including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, nutrition, social work, educational psychology, psychiatry, and more.

Our students look forward to working with you in the future.

Please email for more information about mentoring at SWITCH.

What is a SWITCH shift?

When and where does SWITCH operate?

SWITCH operates Monday and Wednesday evenings from 5–9pm, and Saturday afternoons from 12-4pm out of the Westside Community Clinic. During the summer months (May/June/July/August), SWITCH operates Wednesday evenings from 5-9pm. SWITCH is closed all holidays and holiday weekends.

What does a shift look like?

On each shift, there are:

– a nurse practitioner and social work mentor
– 1-4 professional mentors from various health fields
– ~20 student volunteers

Mentors and students from different health professions collaborate to provide care to clients. Students take an initial history then discuss a plan with the mentors.

Are mentors paid?

Mentors are paid an honorarium per four-hour shift. As SWITCH is a registered charity, mentors may donate their honorarium back to SWITCH for a charitable tax receipt; mentors may also choose to waive their honorarium.

What are my responsibilities as a mentor?

As one of 1-4 interprofessional mentors per four-hour shift, responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

– Providing interprofessional guidance to students from your own as well as other disciplines
– Maintaining and monitoring the policies of the Westside Clinic (charting, protocols, policies, etc.)
– Monitoring the SWITCH scopes of practice for each discipline and the Code of Ethics
– Providing feedback to SWITCH about how to improve operations
– Providing best practice interdisciplinary holistic health care for clients
– Providing an interdisciplinary educational experience for students

Are mentors covered by liability insurance?

You must provide proof that you are covered by your own liability insurance either through an insurance company or your professional organization.

Do I need to attend an orientation?

All mentors must attend a mandatory orientation session. To schedule an orientation, please contact

How do I get more information or sign up to become a mentor?

Contact Pass the word to other potential mentors!

How to get on the team

We are happy to hear you are interested in becoming a mentor at SWITCH. Here are the requirements necessary to become a mentor at SWITCH.

1. Have some experience.

We appreciate if mentors have some experience with issues clients face living in marginalized circumstances i.e. addictions; poverty; housing; mental health; chronic disease; social assistance and/or experience with clients from different ethnic backgrounds.

Experience with teaching, leading, facilitating and/or working with students in any capacity is an asset.

We do welcome all health professionals regardless of your background so as long as you have an interest in SWITCH, contact us! Depending on your previous experience, we may ask you to do some Category A shifts and/or shadow shifts before mentoring on your own. This will be determined at your orientation.

2. Have an orientation.

Everyone is required to have a SWITCH orientation before mentoring. This will go through everything a mentor needs to know about the clinic including policies, procedures, liability, and cultural competence. Please email to sign up for an orientation.

3. Provide supporting documentation.

You will need to submit the following to SWITCH:

– Resume with references
– Criminal record check dated within the last two years
– Copy of your SIN card (not just the number) OR copy of a T-4 OR copy of a tax return (with financial information blacked out)
– Mentor contract
– Proof of registration with your respective professional organization
– Proof of malpractice insurance if not included with your professional registration/license.

4. Sign up for a shift.

Once oriented, you will be in the SWITCH system. We use a scheduling system right on our website. For instructions and information about signing up for shifts, see the “How to sign up for shifts” tab at the left.

How to sign up for shifts

SWITCH uses an online self-scheduling system for volunteers and mentors. After you get oriented, an email will be sent to you providing you with a login and password. Once oriented, you will be able to sign up for shifts up to 24 hours before it starts.

Step by step instructions signing up for a shift:

  1. Go to the SWITCH website and click “Scheduler” at the top right-hand side of the page.
  2. Use the email address you gave at orientation to log in.
  3. Change your password the first time you log in.
  4. Once you log in, you will be able to click onto SWITCH shifts shown on the Calendar to sign up.
  5. Click on the date you want to sign up and a window will pop up.
  6. Click on the Category you wish to schedule yourself under and then hit “Register!”
  7. Once registered, your name will appear below in the list of “Registered Volunteers”.

Can’t make a shift?

If for some reason you cannot make it to a shift, please email or call the SWITCH office. Your services are valuable and it is important for us to know if you cannot make your shift so that we can find a replacement. SWITCH tries to make sure we are staffed appropriately every time we open our doors.

Alternatively, you can use the functions on the SWITCH scheduler to trade with another user, if you know another mentor from your discipline that can take your shift. To do this, go back to where you signed up and click on your name, where you will find the appropriate options.


SWITCH is always looking to update our mentor testimonials for use in our Annual Reports and promotional documents. Testimonials could include statements about: what SWITCH means to you, how SWITCH has impacted your life (professionally, academically, personally, etc), what you have learned and/or experienced while at SWITCH, or anything else that you’d like to say.

If you would like to provide a testimonial, please email and indicate that you are a mentor, as well as if you’d like your name to be included with your statement or if you’d prefer to stay anonymous.

“SWITCH is the best kept secret in town.  This is the way health care is supposed to be practiced. You really get a chance to build relationships with clients.”
– Dr. Lorne Pilot, Physician Mentor

“Each time I work a shift I’m grateful that SWITCH is available to students as a profound educational experience, to the community members as a truly unique clinical service, and to practicing professionals like me as a reminder of why we went into health care in the first place.”
– Dr. Ryan Meili, Physician Mentor

“Having been here since the beginning, it has been great to see SWITCH grow into what it has become today.  I loved being a part of SWITCH as a student, and now a mentor.”
– Margarita Sysing, Social Work Mentor

“SWITCH offers professionals and students alike the opportunity to work and learn inter-professionally which ultimately benefits our entire community.”
– Dr. Bruce Reeder, Physician Mentor