We’re thankful for our students!


It’s Thanksgiving again, and an opportunity for us to express gratitude. This year, we have had the gift of several groups of students working with us in Undergraduate Medical Education and we’d like to showcase their efforts and publicly thank them for their help in making our program even better!

Making DIL work! Beginning with work from last summer, and continuing into this fall, Marie Leung (Meds 2015) has helped us better understand and plan for improvement of the Directed Independent Learning events incorporated in many pre-clerkship courses. Marie performed a review of 247 hours of DIL learning events, providing the Educational Team with a detailed breakdown of the range of structure in these sessions. She followed up with a student focus group, identifying ‘best practices’ from the point of view of our learners. We have recently collated this material and delivered two faculty development sessions to spread the word to course directors. In the next few months the Teaching and Learning Committee will draft guidelines to help teachers and course directors structure this type of mandatory independent learning to ensure quality across the board.


Physiology “Bootcamp”: This summer a group of dedicated students worked with Dr. Chris Ward, Lynel Jackson and myself to create a series of Physiology “bootcamp” modules for those who’d like more of a background in physiology. Kelly Harper (Meds 2017), Lauren Kielstra (Meds 2016) , Amro Qaddoura (Meds 2017), Rajini Retnosothie (Meds 2017) and Peter Vo (Meds 2017) developed online modules, with text, images and animation on these topics: Endocrine Physiology, Respiratory Physiology, The Autonomic Nervous System, Gastrointestinal Physiology and The Renal System and the Heart. The students also worked with Sarah Wickett, Informatics Librarian at Bracken Health Sciences Library to ensure that all images and animation met copyright guidelines. Dr. Ward’ theory is that students would have the best sense of what basic foundational information would be helpful to upcoming classes. Stay tuned for publication of these modules through the work of Lynel Jackson at MEdTech.

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Procedural Skills Modules: Dr. Lindsey Patterson is grateful for her students and her Resident! Dr. Curtis Nickel, Meds 2013, and a Resident in Anesthesiology, has been overseeing the work of  Sarah-Taïssir Bencharif, Lauren Welsh‎ and Richard Di Lena, all of Meds 2016, as they developed online modules on procedural skills. Beginning with the skill of intubation, Dr. Nickel and Dr. Patterson were working with the students to incorporate video, text, images and step-by-step instructions. The goal of these modules is to provide a consistent method and set of skills to students and faculty alike, accessible anywhere and at any time.


QBank and Test Anxiety: Two of our Meds 2017 students, Adam Chruscicki and Natasha (Natalia) Ovtcharenko as student curricular representatives noticed a high demand for practice questions to help diffuse some of the anxiety around first term mid-term examinations. To answer this demand they decided to start a student-generated question repository, that will serve as a resource for self-testing and hopefully help students prepare for all the different exams through the years. To show the effectiveness of generating questions and self-testing, the students designed a study to look at exam-anxiety (which is negatively correlated with academic outcomes) and the use of QBank as a means to reduce exam anxiety. The study is looking at two separate ways of reducing anxiety: i) self-testing and ii) generating questions. The student investigators are using the STAI (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory), as a measure of success. They anticipate that users who access QBank the most will show the largest decrease in anxiety/lowest levels of anxiety around exams.

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Adam writes, “We are looking to expand QBank into all four years of undergraduate medicine, we want QBank to become a ubiquitously-used study resource by all QMeds, and eventually become a tool that can be used to study for out LMCC, and we hope to expand the functionalities of the website and the bank, eventually linking all the questions to the MCC objectives. Most of all we hope that QBank will make our classmates fell more at ease with testing…and turn it from a stressful experience into what it is meant to be–an educational tool. “

Stay tuned because the team anticipates results prior to the winter holiday!

Online Module Audit: Seven students worked on a special project for the Teaching, Learning and Innovation Committee (TLIC) this summer to review eLearning modules in the UGME data base. Corey Bricks (Meds 2015), David Carlone (Meds 2017), Elizabeth Clement (Meds 2016), Kelly Harper (Meds 2017), Alicia Nickel-Lingenfelter (Meds 2016), Laurent St-Martin (Meds 2017) and Rebecca Wang (Meds 2016) reviewed 131 modules to determine if the modules should be revised or archived. Working with Theresa Suart of the UGME Ed Team, and Dr. Lindsay Davidson, through the audit process, the students noted whether revisions involved content, format, resources or assessment tools. With a huge bank of online modules, some of which are out of date, have been superseded or have other issues, the work of the students is so useful! As a result of their work, TLIC will draft best practices for online module development including review and archive protocols. The students’ work is a first step to enable the TLIC and MEdTech to offer an up to date bank of useful modules.


First Patient Project Impact on Career Choices: This summer and fall, First Patient Project Student Rep, Jason Kwok developed a study to determine if and how the First Patient Project affects students’ career choices.

This study is significant because making informed career choices is a key milestone for medical students within the Leader role of the CanMEDS 2015 Series III draft Framework. Jason created an online survey which was by Queen’s medical students who have participated in the FPP for at least 6 months. Statistical and thematic analyses have been conducted to pinpoint and record patterns within responses. 23% of medical students indicated that the participation in the FPP has a direct impact on their career direction. Thematic analysis of narrative responses indicated that FPP had motivational and inspirational impact on students while responses provided curriculum renewal feedback for the Program Directors and Coordinators


Nursing Home Module: One of alternative projects in the First Patient Project this year was to help peers understand about nursing home care, and the roles of physicians and nurse practitioners in nursing home. After giving an oral presentation with her partner Brandon Maser, Chelsie Warshafsky(Meds 2016) put together a learning module for other students to let them know important facts about nursing home care and about nursing homes as a future career path. It will be available through MEdTech soon.

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 Student Handbook and Roles, Responsibilities and Safety Modules:  Tyson Savage (Meds 2017) has had a busy summer!  He has developed the new Student Handbook with Alice Rush-Rhodes and built it into an i-book.  A one-stop-shop for students to find information, it was released this fall.  As well, Tyson developed much needed one-stop-shop modules for preclerkship and clerkship students on their roles and responsibilities in clinical situations as well as important safety information both on campus and in any of the hospitals in which they may have clinical placements.  Tyson even built the quizzes that allow students to demonstrate they’ve read the modules and know where this information is housed.  All students from 2016-2018 have been introduced to these modules.


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Student Monitors: There is a group of students who must remain unsung but are integral not only to the workings of the curriculum, but to our accreditation standards. These students are our learning event monitors, 2 from each year, who record any inconsistencies in the types of learning events recorded. The students maintain anonymity so as not to be influenced by any personal bias. Their work helps UGME remain true to its Teaching and Learning Policy standard, whereby every course must have under 50% lecture as a teaching methodology. The work of the students confirms  self-identification and helps us to maintain a balanced “constellation” of teaching strategies.

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Aesculapian Society Student Representatives: We are so fortunate to have student representation on all of our committees in the UGME program! Our students are not passive on these committees—they have voices, voting rights, and are called upon to represent the perspectives of their year, or of larger groups of students. As well, there are student representatives for Competencies, for the First Patient Project and new this year, for the Portfolio. These student representatives help plan events, connect with the students about innovations, help with revisions and other tasks. We can’t forget the technology reps who podcast so politely and who are often called upon by harassed faculty when technology fails. (We do have technology assistance, tho’ and we are ensuring we are respectful of our tech reps’ learning time.) Another group of invaluable students are the student academic reps who meet with their Course and Year Directors faithfully through the year to give feedback to faculty and to bring responses back to their peers. I’m grateful personally for last year’s AS Vice President Internal, Graydon Simmons (Meds 2016), who not only helped pilot the student peer mentorship in orientation week’s confidentiality session, but came up with a great communication system which his successor Mike Baxter is continuing. Through VP Internal, I’ve connected with the Year “Pres” group who so diligently pass along messages about opportunities for students.

The UGME Ed Team is always most grateful to the students who help us out with focus groups, provide feedback and who thoughtfully contribute to reviewing and improving our projects.

And then, of course, there are all our students…the ones who come up to thank faculty for their efforts, who pay attention and ask insightful questions, who look for opportunities to “do more” and who greet faculty and staff with smiles and flashes of neon (and more subdued hues of) backpacks. It’s fun to come into work each day knowing our students are there, and we’re grateful.


Do you know about a student or group of students for whom you are grateful? Please write into the blog to tell us of students who have helped the UGME program.