This week we welcome our new one hundred and twenty-nine postgraduate medical residents to Queen’s. I am so excited for them as they start this new phase of their lives, heading quickly towards being independent practitioners. At Queen’s, we are really proud to have a terrific group of new trainees and are absolutely committed to working very hard with each and every resident to help them achieve their goals and dreams. I know I am biased, but I must say how confident I am about the dedication of our Queen’s faculty to the mission of postgraduate medical education. All of our programs were recently accredited in an extraordinarily positive review and the reviewers made special comment on “remarkable culture of education here at Queen’s”.
There are changes in the wind; pretty dramatic changes in our educational environment that will present both challenges and opportunities for our new residents. The first challenge will be for them to reconcile the tension between paying attention to work-life balance and their need to amass a whole array of new competencies. Although we have been living with this tension for over a decade now, I would suggest we are at a precipice where we need to stop looking at the swinging pendulum, and take a hard look at our curriculum. Our new residents will undoubtedly work harder in the next few years than they ever have before, but it is our job to make sure they get the utmost impact out of each and every training hour. At Queen’s, we have just finished our strategic planning process and one of the four pillars of the plan will be to examine and implement new models of training. We don’t want our new residents who will be graduating in 2-5 years to become competent family physicians and specialists. We want them to be exceptionally capable, patient-focused, system leaders who are more skilled than we ever dreamed they could be. So we will work with our new residents to engage them in finding better ways to train, to ensure their competence, and to inspire them to do something special.
Our new vision at Queen’s is that we ask questions, we seek answers, we advance care, and we inspire change. We hope our new residents will embrace this vision with us. We have just developed a Clinician Investigator Program, which will allow some of them to take 2-5 years out of your residency to study some aspect of scholarly activity. We will fund their master’s degree or their PhD. We have just established a fund to hire clinician scientists and clinician education scholars. We would love many those positions to go to some of our new trainees.
Our residents are making a vital transition, from medical student to resident. With that transition comes with it the fundamental change that they will now be making decisions that will materially impact on the lives of our patients. That is indeed a privilege that we all take seriously. Patients put their confidence in our judgment, entrust their bodies to our care, in very private and meaningful moments, they bear their souls. This privilege will challenge our new colleagues along the way, and I want to make sure they always understand that they are not in this alone. We have an army of colleagues in the nurses, physiotherapists, OT’s, pharmacists and other professionals who work alongside our new residents. I encourage each and every resident to work with them, learn from them and rely on their advice. Similarly, our new residents have a whole new group of resident colleagues. They can lean on them. And most important, our Faculty are here for our residents. The buck doesn’t stop with our newest colleagues who need to always embrace the philosophy of never being afraid to ask questions and to seek answers.
Thirty-five years ago I stood in in the same place as our new residents. I must say, I am a bit envious of their upcoming journey. I know their next few years will be the most meaningful and hopefully best of their young lives. We are committed at Queen’s to doing our part in making them even better than our residents are imaging they could be.
So I have a message to our newest colleagues. Please keep in touch, communicate with the Faculty and the Dean’s Office, or better yet…please stop by the Macklem House, my door is always open.