Issue No. 5 -   Transitions
October 28, 2015
Smoothing the transition periods for learners

FMEC PG Recommendation 5:

Recommendation #5 (Ensure effective integration and transitions along the educational continuum) aims to improve the key transition periods learners experience as they progress from medical student to resident to practicing physician. The learning continuum of a physician comes with increasing levels of responsibility, and more effective transitioning will help medical students and residents be better prepared to handle these changes. Three main working groups are spearheading initiatives and pilot projects in the areas of: Transitions from Medical School to Residency, Career Planning and Residency Matching Process, and Transitions from Residency to Practice.

Current Implementation:
  • Pilot projects to help with the transition from medical school to residency are unfolding to provide national standards and tools for medical schools/residency programs. Specifically, a post-match boot camp program and a simulated night on-call program are being piloted at a several Canadian schools, with plans to disseminate across the country in the next couple of years.  As well, pan-Canadian EPAs (Entrustable Professional Activities) for all graduating medical students and a learner education handover protocol are being developed with the intent of national implementation in all 17 Canadian schools. 
  • Two pilot projects have been developed with the Career Planning and Residency Matching Process working group- the first will provide national guidelines and best practices for career services and counselling for medical learners and the second is investigating national implementation of a series of best practices for residency Program Directors to help improve the fairness and transparency of the residency selection process. Discussions are ongoing with major medical education stakeholders on the possibility of making changes to the entry to residency system to improve its flexibility.
  • The Transitions from Residency to Practice working group is working with recent graduates and early-in-practice physicians to conceptualize short and long-term goals for the working group, pursuing initiatives in the areas of assessment, practice management, mentorship, unemployment issues upon graduation and their connection with CPD.

To see the full recommendation and transformative actions, please consult the FMEC PG Collective Vision .

About the FMEC PG Implementation Project
The Future of Medical Education in Canada Postgraduate (FMEC PG) Implementation Project is helping to ensure that medical residents in this country continue to receive the best training possible and are able to meet the changing healthcare needs of Canadians.

The FMEC PG Implementation Project is funded by Health Canada and a consortium of four organizations: The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), Le Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ) and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (The Royal College).

Reflections from 
Dr. Nick Busing, Project Lead

The ever changing needs of a physician across the medical education continuum-from medical student through to retirement from practice- feature many rewards and many challenges. For most of us, the challenges are not so much in the cognitive domains  but relate to other skills we need, such as resiliency, collaboration, mentoring and the ability to change, to name but a few. Many of these skills are needed in times of transition (from medical student to resident, from resident to practice, from early to later practice).
It is impossible to fully address all of these transitions at one moment in time, but the FMEC PG project response to the need for better transitions has been outstanding. It includes a thorough review of our entry level disciplines to ensure that the system is socially accountable and one which can respond to ever changing health human resource needs.
The description of the projects underway to address transitions (see the accompanying note in this newsletter) is not only a tribute to the work that needs to be done, but is also a tribute to so many of our colleagues who have taken up the challenge of developing many different ways to address the transitions. It augurs well for our educational continuum when so many  of our colleagues recognize the challenges in transitions and are ready to address them, committing their time and resources to improve the educational environment for all of us.

D r. Nick Busing led transformative change from 2005-2013 as President and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. Prior to joining AFMC, Dr. Busing spent 20 years at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine. He is a past president of the CFPC and a past chair of the Canadian Medical Forum.