Why should you teach Clinical Skills?

Today’s blog article comes from Dr. Cherie Jones, MD, FRCPC,
Course Director, Clinical and Communication Skills and Ms. Kathy Bowes, RN, Clinical Skills Coordinator.

Clinical Skills training is core to any undergraduate medical curriculum. Here at Queen’s University, first and second year medical students learn “the tools of their trade” in a variety of settings and formats every week. Medical students and clinical skills tutors identify the small group teaching as the most useful and enjoyable aspect of the entire program. Furthermore, despite the significant time commitment clinical skills tutors report that the afternoon small group teaching is a highlight of their week.

“Students are so excited to be finally looking and acting like doctors with their white coats, new stethoscopes…. (they are) keen to learn the skills they associate with physicians. At this stage we can really influence the way they will interact with their patients and the type of physician they will eventually be.”

Dr. Jay Engel MD, FRCPC, Division Head of Surgical Oncology, KGH

In the pre-clerkship clinical skills curriculum, much of what is learned by students occurs in a small group setting of ten students supervised by two tutors. Once a week they meet for an afternoon and tutors guide and direct their students so that they can learn the history taking and physical exam skills that are essential to the competent practice of medicine. This year we asked tutors “Why do you teach clinical skills?”, especially since many return year after year. As most eloquently stated by Dr. Peter Froud….

“Because for many years I have felt that some of the most necessary skills for MDs are those that involve listening and questioning skills and the self-confidence needed for these skills… if I am able to impart all or most all of these skills to a group of new students every year, in my own small way I will be helping….”

Clinical skills tutors take their jobs very seriously. They feel that the role they play in providing feedback is critical for making good doctors; whether it be in the context of interacting with their students every week or during the time outside of the scheduled curriculum correcting case write-ups, reviewing reflection essays and communicating narrative feedback over the course of the term.
Additionally when tutors were asked what advice they would have for physicians interested in becoming tutors, one of our award winning tutors responded …..

“…..I seem to be more confident at it (teaching clinical skills) then I originally thought I was …. now I recognize that I possess professional expertise that not every tutor will have, and that I bring something unique and valuable.”

Clinical Skills tutors teach basic skills for future physicians. It begins with teaching students how to use shiny new stethoscopes, interact with patients, and culminates in the making of a medical student who is well equipped to enter clerkship. At Queen’s University tutors who have participated in clinical skills teaching find it rewarding, one hopes because they have come to realize that their input is critical if we are to create the next generation of competent physicians.

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Dr. Sue Moffatt is the 2013 Recipient of the R.W. Connell Award

The R.W. Connell Award is given to a faculty member who, in the opinion of the graduating class, has made the greatest contributions to their education during the entire MD program. Determined by class vote and awarded at convocation, this is easily the most prestigious teaching award within our program. It is with great pleasure that we let you know that this year’s award winner is Dr. Susan Moffatt.

Sue Moffatt

Dr. Moffatt has been involved in multiple aspects of curriculum for many years. This past year she has directed the development and initial implementation of three Clerkship Curriculum courses, which have been highly successful. Dr. Moffatt has also pioneered sessions in year 1 anatomy with Drs. Reifel and MacKenzie, linking to cardiovascular and respiratory work in year 2. She teaches in Normal Human Function in year 1 about the physiology of respiration. She is also a constant innovator on behalf of her students as Co-Director of the Cardiovascular/Respiratory Course in year 2. Add to that her contributions to Clinical and Communication Skills course, and we can see Dr. Moffatt’s hard work, and much loved teaching evident throughout our curriculum. Her contributions to medical education at Queen’s have been remarkable both in terms of scope and quality. She is a most deserving recipient of this honour.

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Meds 2013 – Congratulations, thanks and one more story.

This week, Meds 2013 will become the 157th class to graduate from the Queen’s School of Medicine.  Despite that long history, their experience in medical school has been distinct in many ways from the 156 classes that have preceded them.  In part, that uniqueness has been due to their engagement of novel teaching methods.  Beginning with the “Pearls” session during Orientation Week (see photo below), the use of clinical and personal “stories” and reflections has been woven into their learning.  With that in mind, I offer another “story” as a parting gift to this special class.

Class of 2013

Professional sport is sometimes capable of becoming more than just games played by privileged millionaires.  On those increasingly rare occasions it becomes a metaphor, with lessons that can resonate through other aspects of our lives.

In the late 1980s, while training in Boston, I developed a fascination with basketball or, more specifically, the Boston Celtics.  The starting five of the Celtics at that time consisted of players who had all enjoyed great careers – Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parrish, Danny Ainge and Dennis Johnson – but, by that time, they were all well past their peak, suffering from a variety of physical ailments common to the older athlete – backs, knees, shoulders.  Nonetheless, they remained a highly competitive team, largely because of their incredible savvy, guile and, most importantly, teamwork.  They were masters of the game and very familiar and comfortable with each other.  They were therefore able to consistently defeat younger, more physically talented teams.  They remained the team to beat, and were annually competing for the championship.

basketball1The best individual player at that time, by far, was Michael Jordan.  Still early in his career, Michael Jordan was like an alien dropped to earth to show the world a new way to play basketball.  He did things no one else could do, and did most of them while seemingly suspended in mid air.  He transformed basketball into a three dimensional game.  He literally, and figuratively, soared.  However his team, the Chicago Bulls, had no players who could complement his excellence.  Their main strategy was “get the ball to Michael”.  In a game where only five players compete at a time and one athlete can play almost the whole game, this approach can be quite effective if you have such a stellar player.  Indeed, Jordan dominated the regular season, finishing miles ahead of anyone else in the scoring race, leading his team to the playoffs in 1986, and a much anticipated match with the Celtics.  For basketball fans, it was a match for the ages, pitting a great team of very good veteran players against an incredibly talented star in his ascendancy.  For basketball mad Boston, it was nirvana.

The teams split the first 6 games, with the Celtics using the standard strategy against Jordan, which was to double or triple team him.  Basically, the approach was to assign one of their tallest and most skilled players to cover the 6’6” (not very tall for basketball) Jordan, moving another player or two over as soon as he got the ball, thus boxing him in laterally and vertically.  By doing so, a team could hope to hold Jordan to 20 or 25 points, which would be regarded as a highly successful defensive effort.  For Game 7 in Boston, the Celtics shocked their fans and all those watching by taking a dramatically unconventional and courageous approach.  They decided to play Jordan man-to-man and, for most of the game, Dennis Johnson was assigned the task of covering Jordan.

Dennis Jordan was a very capable guard who had a long and successful career.  He had become a key component of the Celtics team and knew his role very well.  However, he was only 6’4” and, by 1986, couldn’t jump.  Basically, he had no chance of covering Michael Jordan alone.

basketballThroughout the game, the highly knowledgeable Celtics fans watched in shocked disbelief as poor Dennis was left to do the impossible.  For a proud athlete with the entire basketball world watching, including his wife and children who were in the crowd, it would have been a humiliating experience.  Michael Jordan scored in every possible way, eventually amassing an amazing 63 points – still the record for most points in a professional post-season game.  But…the other four Celtics starters, freed from defensive responsibilities, all dominated their opponents and Boston won the game in double overtime – the most exciting and interesting basketball game I’ve ever seen.  The team of grizzled and self-sacrificing veterans had triumphed over the transcendent star, at least that night.  After the game, as players and fans swarmed the court, it was obvious that Jordan felt defeated and unfulfilled despite his incredible personal triumph.  Dennis Johnson, on the other hand, emerged as the battered hero of the game despite his personal drubbing.  He became, and has been, my favourite basketball player.  I was saddened to learn of his premature death in 2007 from apparent cardiac causes.  His Celtics teammates eulogized him as “one of the most underrated players of all time”.

So, what relevance does this story hold for the newly minted doctors of Meds 2013?  You are about to engage postgraduate training of various types.  You will, believe it or not, become highly proficient in your chosen specialties.  You will have days when you feel capable of handling any challenge – of being able to soar like Michael Jordan.  On those days, it will serve to recall the lessons of that April 1986 game, that you can lose the game despite personal triumph, and that even Michael Jordan never felt fulfilled as a player until years later when the Bulls assembled teammates capable of complementing Jordan’s talent and finally winning championships.  By all means, strive to soar, but remember that most of our triumphs as physicians come when we toil with integrity like Dennis Johnson; without fanfare, with quiet effectiveness, with very few aware of what we’ve done, with the patient’s welfare as our ultimate goal.

Meds 2013 has been a remarkable class.  An eclectic and unassuming mix of the quirky and conventional, the pragmatic and idealistic.  Gracious and accepting in the midst of massive curricular change, unfailingly supportive of their school, of their world, of each other.  You have earned the respect and affection of your faculty who will proudly follow your careers with great interest in coming years.  It has been our pleasure.

 

Anthony J. Sanfilippo, MD, FRCP(C)
Associate Dean
Undergraduate Medical Education

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New resource for electrocardiogram interpretation

Queen’s own Dr. Adrian Baranchuk is the Editor of the newly published Atlas of Advanced Electrocardiogram Interpretation. With Contributing Editors Drs. Hoshiar Abdollah, Damian Redfearn, and Christopher Simpson, one could call this “The Queen’s Atlas of ECG”! The atlas is “a practical guide to recognizing and analysing a wide spectrum of cardiac conditions.” There is free access for the next 25 days at http://asandk.com/ecg/ It’s available for PC and Mac.

Atlas Picture 2

The atlas provides:
Tracings, data, descriptions, interpretations, and tips from the expert contributors

Straightforward and consistent style encourages logical and step-wise ECG interpretation, as well as rapid recognition based on the study of repeated patterns

There are 100 “real world” tracings with contributions from 100 of the world’s leading cardiologists and electrocardiographers.

Atlas Picture 1

Cases are divided into 12 chapters covering key disorders and abnormalities.

Bibliographic information is provided to facilitate further reading.

Images from each chapter are available to download to your computer for use as teaching and learning aids.

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A great teaching idea: The 3-2-1 Assignment

Here is a great teaching idea from Dr.Geraldine Van Gyn, professor in the School of Exercise Science at the University of Victoria.

She writes in the e-zine Faculty Focus about the “Purposeful Reading Assignment” or the “3-2-1” assignment.

It goes like this:

Requirement 1: Students read what is assigned, then choose and describe the three most important aspects (concepts, issues, factual information, etc.) of the reading, justifying their choices.

Requirement 2: Students identify two aspects of the reading they don’t understand, and briefly discuss why these confusing aspects interfered with their general understanding of the reading. Although students may identify more than two confusing elements, they must put them in priority order and limit themselves to the two most important ones. Students seldom understand everything in a reading and, knowing that they must complete this part of the assignment, will reflect on their level of understanding of all the reading’s content.

Requirement 3: Students pose a question to the text’s author, the answer to which should go beyond the reading content and does not reflect the areas of confusion in requirement 2. The question reflects students’ curiosity about the topic and reveals what they think are the implications or applications of the reading content. This last requirement lets you know how well students understood the article’s intention.

This would be a great assignment to try in Health Sciences classes. In Meds, perhaps we could modify it so that the students share with their group Requirement 2 and hand in Requirement 3 for feedback. We could use an e-template to complete these and allow faculty to give quick e-feedback.

Prof. Van Gyn reports that in analyzing her mid-and end of term feedback, The purposeful, 3-2-1 reading report is the most frequently cited in all courses (mid-term =72% of all students, n= 549, end of term = 65% of students, n= 513) as being of greatest benefit to the students’ learning.

If you’d like to learn more about 3-2-1, just drop me a line.

Van Gyn, Geraldine. It’s The Little Assignment with the Big Impact: Reading, Writing, Critical Reflection, and Meaningful Discussion. Faculty Focus May 6, 2013.

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New Material and a New Way to Learn: Students as Teachers on Grief.

Recently in a second year meds class, we were debriefing the experience our 2015 meds students had with their “First Patient Project.” During that debriefing class, we had relatively unique and very engaging learning experience about a serious and under-reported topic. My thanks to Dan Corazolla, Soniya Sharma, Lindsay Bowman, Aaron Wynn, Heather Johnston, and Mason Curtis, all Meds 2015 for their help with this article.

The First Patient Project is an 18 month project which begins right in September of medical students’ first year and continues until after December of their second year. Students in pairs follow a chronically ill patient, attending health care appointments and visiting with them in their home. The students also interact with community and faculty physicians and complete critical analysis reports about their learning.

This day, on April 30, we heard from six “student teachers.” Having students teach a formal session is reasonably unique in our medical school and the topic of their teaching was also reasonably unique in medical literature: How do physicians deal with grief, on the loss of a patient? How do they recover and go on…down the hall to the next ward room with another patient in it, to another clinic room, to home?

Six of our students encountered death over the program…two of our “Patient Teachers” sadly have died over the past two years. And another pair of students lost their patient as she was the spouse of one of the patients who passed away and could not continue with the program.

The six students met with a clinical faculty member to discuss the experience, and individual discussion/counseling was made available to them. But they also continued with the project by doing research on three areas: 1. How physicians help families when a family member dies 2. How physicians can help themselves when a patient dies, and 3. How medical literature and medical education literature give insight on how to bring this up in medical education.

Their research and presentations were excellent! I thought I’d share, with their permission, some of their findings:

From Soniya Sharma and Dan Corazolla, came these concepts in how physicians can help their patients deal with grief: the differences between “normal grief” and “abnormal grief”, the tasks of grieving, the family as a resource, and the role of the physician. They consulted nine current references to expand upon these concepts to their classmates and to link up with previous sessions on this topic in their first year classes.

The title of Lindsay Bowman’s and Aaron Wynn’s talk was “Wearing your heart on your jacket: Patient death and the importance of physician grief. “ They pulled from fifteen diverse sources from Military Medicine (great article on resilience-building) to Vasalius, (How to cope with disaster loss and mourning: Galen’s paper which was lost for centuries) to more traditional medical and medical education journals. One particular source I found intriguing was J. Shapiro’s article in Perspective: Does Medical Education Promote Professional Alexithymia? A Call for Attending to the Emotions of Patients and Self in Medical Training. Acad Med 2011;86:326-332.

Lindsay and Aaron taught convincingly about the factors that make patient death difficult to deal for physicians, why grief education is important and relevant to physicians and medical trainees, the current state of grief education in our curriculum and that of other medical schools and where it could and should be represented in undergraduate and postgraduate medicine.

The third partnership to teach about this topic consisted of Heather Johnson and Mason Curtis. Their teaching centred around healthy strategies for physicians in dealing with grief. Both Heather and Mason conducted surveys or interviews. Heather’s survey inquired into when and how we should teach about physician loss and grief in our curriculum. She gave practical strategies and a model on how to move through loss and grief and created a “grief curriculum” whose components could be shared with faculty as well as students.

Interestingly both Heather and Lindsey focused on an article that, in their words, “if you had to read only article on this topic,” this would be it: The inner life of physicians and the care of the seriously ill by Meier, D.E. et al in JAMA 2001, 286(23): 3007-14. I’ve just read it too and let me chime in—a very thorough and insightful article on this topic.

Mason had interviewed physicians and created a model of grief approaches from three perspectives. He also spoke movingly about how he had responded to his grandfather’s death at a time when in medical school he was learning about oncology, palliative care and the elderly.

Students in the class afterward said that it was really positive to learn this material from their classmates. The work was solid, the literature review broad, and the points very clearly and thoroughly presented with good handouts.

The students who taught were positive too…tho’ some had not been initially  Some were hesitant to teach their classmates, and concerned that it would not be well received. They were really buoyed up by the great feedback from their peers and from faculty Dr. Sanfilippo and Dr. Leslie Flynn, Kathy Bowes, Program Coordinator, Erin Matthias, Program Assistant, and patients in the room.

What’s the next step? Well, the students and I can see a need for further exploration of this subject in clerkship and residency. As well, I hope the students will put together a poster about this for CCME.

My take on this aspect of the project is this: our six student teachers were excellent teachers! They were well-prepared, and had done a thorough job in finding out in different modes and in some cases ferretting out literature on a topic that seems to be localized in only a few aspects of medicine and medical education. They were clear speakers, and had great teaching points. Their slides were excellent and they had a good beginning, middle and end to their talks. They were convincing, authoritative, and had much to share. Turning some of the teaching over to students teaches those who teach, and their classmates. We already do student small group teaching in our Community Based Projects and our Nutrition Projects—maybe some large group teaching is in order?

Beyond the teaching method, the students taught us all about a part of medicine that appears to be kept somewhat quiet. About the culture of a “stiff upper lip” that could pervade in some medical cultures. About how may physicians act differently about their own grief than they would advise a patient to act. They gave us all a lesson in how to cope in a healthy way, when you have to move on…to the next patient, the next room, the next door and all the way home.

Are you interested in the reference lists from the students? Or would you like to contact them to find out more about their talk and what surprised them? Write back here, or write to them via email addresses on MEdTech.

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Curricular Leaders’ Retreat

On June 3, from 8:15-2:00, Curricular Leaders will gather for a retreat in the new Medical Building. The retreat will feature updates by Dr. Tony Sanfilippo as a “State of the Union” or report card on UGME. As well, mini-workshops on strategies in teaching and assessment will be offered. Finally updates on innovations over the past academic year and on accreditation will be offered.

Course and Unit Directors are generally the target audience of these retreats. Course Directors are invited to bring a colleague with interest in the direction of their course.

Announcements with information about the agenda, RSVP process, and location is forthcoming.

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Should Every Doctor be Able to Deliver a Baby?

To many, the answer to this question may seem obvious.  For those who feel an emphatic “yes” is called for, let me pose a scenario for your consideration.  Imagine an airline flight about 3 hours from destination.  A call goes out for someone who might assist a young woman who’s gone into premature labour.  Two people respond.  One is a mid career physician who underwent standard obstetrical training during medical school, delivering about 50 babies during that time, but subsequently trained as an Ophthalmologist and has had no obstetrical experience in the past 20 years.  The second is a registered nurse who graduated about 10 years ago and works in a busy hospital, mostly in the emergency department, but with frequent “float” shifts in Labour and Delivery.  Based on this scenario:

Who is more capable of providing competent care to the patient?

Who will most people aboard the plane (including the patient) assume is most qualified?

The point of this scenario and these questions is not to suggest some simmering interprofessional conflict.  One would expect that these two professionals would recognize each other’s strengths and work together for the benefit of the patient.  The point of this story, which could involve any subspecialty not involved in obstetrical care, is to highlight how much medical practice has evolved, and to suggest that our approach to medical education may not be keeping pace.  This point is made even more apparent by imagining a similar scenario playing out 50 or so years ago when there was much less specialization, the practice patterns of all physicians was much more homogeneous, and physicians were fully qualified to practice at the end of medical school.

My colleague Richard VanWylick is a pediatrician and curricular leader.  He and I have established a running joke regarding the toddler assessment in medical school.  The examination of small children, like the ability to deliver a baby, is an aspect of medical practice that will be ultimately provided by a distinct minority of our medical class.  Further, those who do provide those services in their career will undertake considerable further postgraduate training before doing so.

So, one must ask, why do we devote so much curricular time and resources to these components of medical practice?  I would suggest there are a number of valid justifications:

  1. It’s important that our students experience all aspects of medical practice in order to make valid career decisions
  2. An appreciation of these areas of practice provides insights and awareness that makes us all better Doctors, and better able to understand the needs of our patients, regardless of their presenting problem or our area of interest.  When I consult on cardiac issues during pregnancy, for example, it’s important to have had a practical understanding of the principles of labour and delivery.
  3. There exists a societal expectation that all doctors should be able to provide a minimal level of service, particularly in emergency situations.  That “minimum level”, it must be said, is completely undefined.
  4. Our students very much appreciate the opportunity to experience all aspects of medical practice, and expect the opportunity to do so

On a purely pragmatic note, medical schools are required to provide a comprehensive exposure in order to achieve accreditation status in Canada and the United States.  To quote from “Functions and Structure of a Medical School: Standards for Accreditation of Medical Education Programs Leading to the MD Degree” (the bible of accreditation):

ED-15. The curriculum of a medical education program must prepare students to enter any field of graduate medical education and include content and clinical experiences related to each phase of the human life cycle that will prepare students to recognize wellness, determinants of health, and opportunities for health promotion; recognize and interpret symptoms and signs of disease; develop differential diagnoses and treatment plans; and assist patients in addressing health- related issues involving all organ systems.

Although schools are expected to define for themselves what constitutes adequate preparation “to enter any field of graduate medical education”, I think any program would be hard pressed to exclude active participation in basic obstetrical care and child assessments as components of that preparatory process.

However (and this is a big “however”), with the massive increase in knowledge and emergence of over 60 recognized specialties, medical education is becoming increasingly expansive and expensive.  More and more, medical schools are required to make choices regarding what components of education are relevant to every physician, regardless of what specialty they chose to practice.  Such decisions are being made in isolation since we lack any accepted framework or value assumptions that would support such decisions.

But (and this is a big “but”), things are changing.  Leadership organizations such as the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, Royal College of Physician and Surgeons, College of Family Physicians and Medical Council of Canada, are all acknowledging the need to recognize more explicitly the continuum of education from medical school entry through to full qualification.  The Future of Medical Education in Canada initiative is calling for sweeping reform, including the recommendation to “Ensure Effective Integration and Transitions along the Educational Continuum”.  Three committees have recently been established to develop strategies to implement this key recommendation.  These groups are just beginning to grapple with some very difficult and discomfiting questions, such as:

What knowledge, skills, approaches are common and essential to all physicians, regardless of specialty?

How should physicians progress through training, and when should various training streams begin to diverge?

How should the number of specialty training opportunities be determined, and how should learners be selected for those specialties?

When should medical students be expected to declare their area of interest, and what, if any, provision should be made for those who wish to transition between specialties?

These issues will require considerable thought and reflection by all involved in medical practice, including students, postgraduate learners and teaching faculty.  All involved should feel free to contribute to this dialogue, which has the potential to reform our educational systems in rather profound ways, hopefully leading to a much more aligned, efficient and relevant process.  As a co-chair of one of those implementation groups, I would certainly welcome input on these issues.  In the meantime, I will continue to hope to be sitting next to an experienced ER nurse if someone goes into labour during a future flight.

Anthony J. Sanfilippo, MD, FRCP(C)
Associate Dean,
Undergraduate Medical Education

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How could I have forgotten Medical Humanities?

I arrived to the CCME amidst a huge storm on Saturday at 4:30 and immediately went off to a presentation and discussion with other Ed. Developers and new faculty in med ed. So I missed the Medical/Health Humanities Creating Spaces III symposium which had just wrapped up. However, our own Jackie Duffin did not miss it–in fact she was part of a panel on Medical Humanities to wrap up the Symposium, Medical Humanities: Whence and Whither? As well, meds students Emily Swinkin (2014) and Renee Pang (2013) presented — and a recent grad Jennifer Baxter (2012) — was attending just to listen from her family med residency in Chiliwack BC. To see more about this important initiative which I was able to attend and enjoy last year, go to http://medhealthhumanities.ca/Programme_Presentations.html

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Why go to conferences?

Why go to conferences… In which Sheila Pinchin offers a purely personal viewpoint of the CCME Conference (13) .

Well, here I am at the Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME) in Quebec City, along with a great number of faculty from Queen’s, 15 meds students from Queen’s (some came up to volunteer!) Matt Simpson, Lynel Jackson from MEdTech and Andrew dos Santos from IT. As well, many staff are here (Kathy Bowes, and Jen Saunders), and our faithful Educational Team members, Eleni Katsoulas and Theresa Suart are here, too. Dean Richard Reznick, Associate Dean Tony Sanfilippo, Vice Dean Leslie Flynn, Associate Dean Ross Walker and Associate Dean Karen Smith are here. Suzanne Maranda, our head of Bracken Library is also here. And now I’m going to stop naming people as I know I’ll miss some. But these are just some of the people I’ve seen in the past day or two!

On the train up to Quebec City, we got a lot of work done, with people dropping by and talking about ideas and challenges. Dr. Sue Moffatt and we managed to squeeze in an entire planning session for the next Course Directors’ Retreat! We think the train back will offer a similar opportunity—all of us together for seven odd hours. This is a consultant’s dream: Captive faculty all in one space! ☺

I enjoy this conference so much! When I first started in Medical Education 7 years ago, I was one of the few, if not the only, Educational Developer at the conference. Now there are many more of us, and several Educational Researchers too. I don’t feel as odd, and I also feel more at home with all the faculty that come. And when you mix Ed Devs, clinical faculty, technologists and health education librarians together as we did in the workshop Lindsay Davidson, Lynel Jackson and I gave, you get powerful results! Flipped learning has never been so creative–thanks to Lynel’s wonderful graphics, and Lindsay’s really ingenious puzzle pieces activity!

Networking is happening with our faculty here—Tony Sanfilippo and Hugh MacDonald got together with their counterparts from across the country, as did Andrea Winthrop and countless others who were in interest groups and business meetings. Many other faculty were involved in formal meetings and symposia.

But informal networking has happened at mealtime breaks, and at other times, when you could see two or more heads bowed over computers or papers in the lobby and other places where you could sit. Memorably several people were sitting on the floor near the buffets– the better to be connected—to the electrical plugs in the wall and to each other, I presume.

Tony Sanfilippo took advantage of the time to meet up with students as well as other faculty. Here he is bonding with meds student James Simpson over a bowl of rice pudding.
Sanfilippo and Simpson

And here’s Eve Purdy, conference volunteer par excellence, finding common ground with Dr. Dave Williams, keynote speaker, president and CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre, and former astronaut.
Dave Williams

In addition to networking, our Ed Team members (Eleni Katsoulas, Theresa Suart and I) also roam the poster aisles (we greedily snap up the mini versions), chat with people at the booths (hello CMPA Good Practice Modules, and MedicAlert Bracelet Free Curriculum!), and divide up and conquer when it comes to attending moderated poster, oral and workshop sessions. That means we’re synthesizing all this knowledge and bringing it home for everyone here—and do we have some terrific ideas!

I can’t forget to mention the White Coat Warm heART exhibit showcasing student and faculty artwork and a place of peace and provocation in a bustling conference. Here’s a shot of Dr. Carol Ann Courneya from UBC who’s been running the art exhibit since 2010 (with thanks to Dr. Ali L. Jalali for this photo from Twitter)
ART EXHIBIT

Kudos to the many Queen’s faculty, staff and students who gave oral presentations, poster presentations and workshops! One reason we come to conferences is to celebrate this scholarship and efforts of our educational community.

So it’s a real pleasure to celebrate and congratulate Paxton Bach, Meds 2013, on being awarded the Sandra Banner Student Award for Leadership. This prestigious award from the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS), consists of up to $5,000 annually to be given to a medical student or resident who demonstrates an interest in or an aptitude for leadership among their peers. Congratulations Paxton!

Here’s a shot of one of the many fine peer-reviewed Queen’s submissions, Dr. Michelle Gibson’s poster about her W. Dale Dauphinee Fellowship work on formative feedback: MCG Poster

And here, Kathy Bowes and I are standing in front of our poster (with Tony Sanfilippo) about the First Patient Program telling the world (well some of it) that Queen’s is the first Canadian medical school to bring this kind of longitudinal learning from patients to years 1 and 2 students in medical education. This was a great idea Tony Sanfilippo brought back from an AAMC conference two years ago. I wonder what great ideas he’ll be bringing back from this conference!
Kathy Bowes and Sheila

Eve Purdy, Meds 2015, wrote this for our UG blog:
“For me the highlight was the huge social media at the conference allowing for faculty and students across the country to engage whether or not they could make it to Quebec City. It became evident that the efforts of Queen’s students and faculty to model online professionalism are significant and unique. We’re among those leading the charge! This blog is great evidence of those efforts. Having the opportunity to interact with online mentors, people from all over the country having significant impact on my medical education, in real life was well worth the trip (Dr. Jalali, Dr. Yiu and Deirdre Bonnycastle to name a few)!”

Here is a sample of faculty from U of T and Ottawa U tweets to Eve.

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 5.43.27 PM copy

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 5.51.33 PM copy

For stats on Social Media use at the conference see:

http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/CCME13/analytics/?hashtag=CCME13&fdate=04/18/2013&shour=0&smin=0&tdate=04/23/2013&thour=0&tmin=0&ssec=00&tsec=00&img=1

Ben Frid, also Meds 2015 and Aesculapian Society President, wrote this for us:
“Here is a photo of the Queen’s CFMS delegates, all of whom stayed in Quebec City an extra day and a half to attend the first part of CCME and the Dean’s reception.”

Queen's CFMS

Ben continues, “One highlight for me was a fascinating presentation on Hidden Curriculum by a PGY-4 from McGill. She was exploring factors and common experiences amongst clerks that lead to hostile learning environments. She was very clearly advocating for medical students and progressive medical education, and it was inspiring to see another resident speak up at the end of the talk to lend his full support as well. I think residents are in a uniquely favourable position to mediate and collaborate between medical students and attending physicians and it was terrific to see these residents take up this important cause.

Another highlight was the Dean’s reception last night. It’s always fun to interact with faculty in an informal setting, and when I looked around the room I saw a mix of students, faculty, administrative staff, and alumni all enjoying each other in lively conversation — a shining example of Queen’s collegiality! Queen’s pride was abounding and amidst the Queen’s tartans and flags, I’m quite sure I saw the classic Queen’s pin on every lapel in the room. I had the chance to shake hands and share stories with John Ruedy, Aesculapian Society President in 1955, who has spent his time since then making incredible strides in transforming clinical and academic medicine across Canada. A very neat experience indeed!”

Theresa Suart, our new Educational Developer, who used her journalist’s background to ferret out literally every learning opportunity, says, “What’s really amazing is how so many people are working so hard to educate our future physicians! The energy is amazing and very inspiring.” Eleni Katsoulas, our new Assessment and Evaluation Consultant, who attended eighteen oral sessions, nine moderated poster debriefs, and one workshop, all on assessment, says she learned a lot. “But what sticks out in my mind is how important and energizing the networking is—so many helpful and collaborative people!”

I entitled this blog, “Why go to conferences?” They are a lot of hard work, a lot of travel, long hours, and a lot of time away from home, family and work.

But they also mean a great deal of learning about the best and latest in our fields, great ideas for helping our students, the ability to peer forward into the future, new people to connect and work with, a chance to do some thinking, a chance to drink in knowledge, and a chance to celebrate scholarship from our own institution as well as inhale that from others.

Don’t take my word for this! Go into Twitter and see the scope of the learning that went on at #CCME13.

Next CCME is in Ottawa—see you there!

My thanks to Eve Purdy for most of the photos and the comments, Ben Frid for the CFMS Delegates’ photo and comments, Dr. Jalali for the twitter photo of Dr. Courneya and her poster, Theresa Suart and Eleni Katsoulas for the company and the great quotes, and Dr. Sanfilippo for sending us here!

Do you have any CCME 13 experiences to share? Post them here!

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