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French required for McGill residency?


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I have an interview at McGill for a small program (that said English-speaking only is OK) and I speak no French. Looking at a post below it seems like someone matched to McGill despite the requirements saying you don't need to know French as well and then started residency only to realize that wasn't true and a lot of their patient interactions were indeed in French. Should I bother to interview at McGill because of this?

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Depends entirely on the program. The thread you're talking about was for family, and when you treat a large volume of people in a clinic setting you need to be comfortable in French and they should have told them that.

If you're working in a hospital right off the bat everyone is more understanding of language difficulties. As mentioned many IMGs come with no french (and leave with virtually no french) and it's fine. Also for family and psych strong communication skills in general are important. For surgery, communication skills are not nearly as important, so it makes sense that you can get by without being completely fluent in French.

I assume you don't want to state which program it is, but if it's hospital based and not as communication-centered as fam/psych, you may be fine, especially if the program is explicitly telling you that French is not required. You already have the interview, there's no harm in going and being honest about your French knowledge, and then asking them in person if it will be an issue. And then do some self-reflection and think about whether it would stress you out tremendously to have to occasionally find a nurse to help you translate, or depend on other team-members when you need to speak with unilingual French patients.

At McGill hospitals roughly 50% of patients are French, but 50-75% of those French patients at the very least understand English. It's quite a small fraction that are truly unilingual French. The previous poster was likely placed at a clinic that had a high Francophone population, and that's why they ended up in such a tough position. It's extremely variable by neighborhood, but all McGill hospitals are as I described above.

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14 hours ago, Hellothere77 said:

Depends entirely on the program. The thread you're talking about was for family, and when you treat a large volume of people in a clinic setting you need to be comfortable in French and they should have told them that.

If you're working in a hospital right off the bat everyone is more understanding of language difficulties. As mentioned many IMGs come with no french (and leave with virtually no french) and it's fine. Also for family and psych strong communication skills in general are important. For surgery, communication skills are not nearly as important, so it makes sense that you can get by without being completely fluent in French.

I assume you don't want to state which program it is, but if it's hospital based and not as communication-centered as fam/psych, you may be fine, especially if the program is explicitly telling you that French is not required. You already have the interview, there's no harm in going and being honest about your French knowledge, and then asking them in person if it will be an issue. And then do some self-reflection and think about whether it would stress you out tremendously to have to occasionally find a nurse to help you translate, or depend on other team-members when you need to speak with unilingual French patients.

At McGill hospitals roughly 50% of patients are French, but 50-75% of those French patients at the very least understand English. It's quite a small fraction that are truly unilingual French. The previous poster was likely placed at a clinic that had a high Francophone population, and that's why they ended up in such a tough position. It's extremely variable by neighborhood, but all McGill hospitals are as I described above.

I appreciate where you’re coming from and I’ll be the first to tell you that Quebec people sometimes overreact about French (this is coming from a native French speaker.) But really to most people in Quebec it would be unacceptable for someone to come to Montreal and not be able to communicate in French with their patients. Imagine if your loved one was hospitalized somewhere where their doctor spoke only a different language. Would you feel safe for them? Also, perhaps 15% of McGill patients are uninlingual French, one could argue that’s “quite a small fraction,” but you really need to think about how French is a national language and how Québécois people are sensitive to this. You may antagonize your patients just because you don’t speak French (I’m not saying that’s right, I’m saying this is what I’ve seen happen.)

You also need to keep in mind that McGill offers virtually no official translating services. As a med student, I’ve been asked to translate level of care discussions (relevant to all specialties including surgery), which I feel was unfair to both me and the patient’s family. Please don’t put your students and team memberS through this. Consider taking intensive French if you’re serious about McGill!
 

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3 hours ago, perle said:

I appreciate where you’re coming from and I’ll be the first to tell you that Quebec people sometimes overreact about French (this is coming from a native French speaker.) But really to most people in Quebec it would be unacceptable for someone to come to Montreal and not be able to communicate in French with their patients. Imagine if your loved one was hospitalized somewhere where their doctor spoke only a different language. Would you feel safe for them? Also, perhaps 15% of McGill patients are uninlingual French, one could argue that’s “quite a small fraction,” but you really need to think about how French is a national language and how Québécois people are sensitive to this. You may antagonize your patients just because you don’t speak French (I’m not saying that’s right, I’m saying this is what I’ve seen happen.)

You also need to keep in mind that McGill offers virtually no official translating services. As a med student, I’ve been asked to translate level of care discussions (relevant to all specialties including surgery), which I feel was unfair to both me and the patient’s family. Please don’t put your students and team memberS through this. Consider taking intensive French if you’re serious about McGill!
 

Absolutely agree with this... Its all about patients, giving them the service and care they deserve...this needs to be a priority to every applicant. Going through 5 years of residency in Montreal without being able to round a single patient in french by the end of training is a failiure to me and should not by encouraged...

like Perle said, please make sure to consider learning enough french to have a solid baseline, or make sure you will be able to have the programs support into this journey. 
 

best of luck

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