65. Concurrent pursuit of degrees and courses during community medicine residency: Challenges, policies and proceduress

M. L. Russell, A. Robinson Vollman, T. Strudsholm

Abstract


We describe the policies and practices of Canadian Community Medicine (CM) residency programs regarding the Royal College requirement for one year of academic course work.
We surveyed 10 Program Directors (PD) of the 11 Canadian CM residency programs (excluding our university) by either telephone interview or written completion of a structured interview guide. Questions addressed: what is currently allowed and/or encouraged; the policies in place; and the benefits and challenges to concurrent pursuit of degrees by CM residents. Of particular interest were policies regarding residents studying off-site and what actions PDs take if courses or degrees desired by a resident were not available at the home university.
Seven of 10 PDs replied. Most programs did not have written policies to deal with requests to study off-site; decisions were made on a case-by-case basis. When approved, residents received salary support and bore all costs of off-site education. Several CM programs require degree acquisition during the academic year; others encourage degree acquisition. While CM program websites indicate degree completion is possible within one calendar year, often practicum placements run concurrently with resident clinical rotations or projects are competed during residency rotations. Most programs prefer residents to stay on campus for their contribution to rounds and on-call, socialization of the cohort, and continuity.
It would be helpful to programs generally if PDs had policies to guide decisions; it would be particularly useful for the specialty if this were (to the degree possible) a common policy across universities. PDs and universities wish to make academic learning more readily accessible. We suggest a focus on the development of quality distance learning and innovative strategies to share course development and improve residents’ access to learning without the need to go off-site.
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v30i4.2826

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