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Having a tough time deciding where to do my IM subspecialty elective


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UBC student here on OOP electives in July/August. I'm applying for 2 weeks CTU at St. Mikes, 2 weeks MTU in Calgary, 2 weeks of subspecialty at UofOttawa and I can't decide where to put my last 2 weeks (or whether to alternatively just put it in my home school and maximize my facetime there - that said I already have 10 weeks of UBC IM CTU/subspecialty). 

- Torn now between Western vs. Queens. Collegial atmosphere and a good, supportive program are very important points to me, I sense that both Queens and Western will meet those criteria. I'm most wary of the towns themselves - I love Vancouver so so so much for the music/food/nightlife scene, nature, my diverse friend groups the list goes on. In that regard which city might be a better fit for me? I suspect London being the bigger of the two may be a better fit?

Would love to hear what people think about Western vs. Queens IM and the cities themselves :)

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On 1/18/2020 at 12:06 AM, Maverick said:

UBC student here on OOP electives in July/August. I'm applying for 2 weeks CTU at St. Mikes, 2 weeks MTU in Calgary, 2 weeks of subspecialty at UofOttawa and I can't decide where to put my last 2 weeks (or whether to alternatively just put it in my home school and maximize my facetime there - that said I already have 10 weeks of UBC IM CTU/subspecialty). 

- Torn now between Western vs. Queens. Collegial atmosphere and a good, supportive program are very important points to me, I sense that both Queens and Western will meet those criteria. I'm most wary of the towns themselves - I love Vancouver so so so much for the music/food/nightlife scene, nature, my diverse friend groups the list goes on. In that regard which city might be a better fit for me? I suspect London being the bigger of the two may be a better fit?

Would love to hear what people think about Western vs. Queens IM and the cities themselves :)

If you love Vancouver for those reasons, you probably will like Toronto, but neither Western or Queens is like that. I would choose to go to Western or Mac for an elective. Queens is a smaller program, a more relaxed program, but also a small university town. Western's IM is also considered a more relaxed, less service based program with good teaching. Both programs aren't particularly strong on research. London is a mid-sized university town and closer to Toronto. 

 

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On 1/17/2020 at 9:06 PM, Maverick said:

UBC student here on OOP electives in July/August. I'm applying for 2 weeks CTU at St. Mikes, 2 weeks MTU in Calgary, 2 weeks of subspecialty at UofOttawa and I can't decide where to put my last 2 weeks (or whether to alternatively just put it in my home school and maximize my facetime there - that said I already have 10 weeks of UBC IM CTU/subspecialty). 

- Torn now between Western vs. Queens. Collegial atmosphere and a good, supportive program are very important points to me, I sense that both Queens and Western will meet those criteria. I'm most wary of the towns themselves - I love Vancouver so so so much for the music/food/nightlife scene, nature, my diverse friend groups the list goes on. In that regard which city might be a better fit for me? I suspect London being the bigger of the two may be a better fit?

Would love to hear what people think about Western vs. Queens IM and the cities themselves :)

I also recommend Western over Queens based on what you said about Vancouver.

Which Ottawa subspecialty elective are you considering?

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11 hours ago, robclem21 said:

Why not McMaster?

Mac doesn't offer electives in July/August and I'm pretty happy with my confirmed UBC electives in September onwards. Otherwise Mac would have certainly been my top choice along with Ottawa given how close it is to Toronto.

 

Think I should reconsider given my location preferences and perhaps just change up my UBC elective to accommodate Mac's blackout period?

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4 hours ago, AAAmeds said:

I also recommend Western over Queens based on what you said about Vancouver.

Which Ottawa subspecialty elective are you considering?

Thank you! I was thinking cardiology general ward ... however I've heard from a 4th year, cardiology is a tough elective to impress on/get a letter from (and at Ottawa's heart institute it'll probably be even more complex patients than usual) and that I should consider other electives. Any thoughts on that? 

Second choice would be heme. I've applied for an ID elective at Western.

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On 1/19/2020 at 7:15 PM, Maverick said:

Mac doesn't offer electives in July/August and I'm pretty happy with my confirmed UBC electives in September onwards. Otherwise Mac would have certainly been my top choice along with Ottawa given how close it is to Toronto.

 

Think I should reconsider given my location preferences and perhaps just change up my UBC elective to accommodate Mac's blackout period?

From what I've heard at least, UBC IM does take a lot of its own. Given that, and the fact that you like UBC, I don't think its worth changing. You already have east coast electives, so I don't think Mac is a must go unless you have it in your top 3 programs. Mac IM is similar to Western IM except its more service based, more research and has a more "hardcore" reputation. 

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21 hours ago, Edict said:

From what I've heard at least, UBC IM does take a lot of its own. Given that, and the fact that you like UBC, I don't think its worth changing. You already have east coast electives, so I don't think Mac is a must go unless you have it in your top 3 programs. Mac IM is similar to Western IM except its more service based, more research and has a more "hardcore" reputation. 

Hi Edict, that sounds totally reasonable. Thank you for your advice :) 

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On 1/19/2020 at 7:16 PM, Maverick said:

Thank you! I was thinking cardiology general ward ... however I've heard from a 4th year, cardiology is a tough elective to impress on/get a letter from (and at Ottawa's heart institute it'll probably be even more complex patients than usual) and that I should consider other electives. Any thoughts on that? 

Second choice would be heme. I've applied for an ID elective at Western.

The 4th year has a good point. The issue with subspecialty electives is you usually run into subspecialists that only deal with their subspecialty. your general IM knowledge isn't going to impress them as much. Cardio and Ottawa Heart is going to expect a lot. Are you interested in cardiology? If so, you probably have some research and some enhanced knowledge which will serve you well. If you aren't, i'd considering switching it because you may have a hard time getting a good letter. These cardiologists are more used to internal medicine residents and cardiology fellows and will probably expect more. With that being said, if you are interested in cardiology and go into the elective having read up on cardiology, you can impress. Being able to interpret an ECG from start to finish, recognizing the commonly seen issues, understanding the treatment pathways for CAD and CHF will be very helpful. Knowing your CV physical exam, knowing cardiology tests well and what they are used for is also very good. Knowing major trials or more detailed numbers and parameters (aortic valve stenosis criteria for ex) will make you really stand out. 

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