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Hello,

I am currently applying to IM in CaRMS and have been fortunate enough to get several interviews. I am finding it difficult to compare programs however (away electives would have really helped with this). I have spoken with several IM residents from Ontario programs but have not had much luck speaking with residents at schools outside of Ontario. 

I have heard from others however that UBC IM and McGill are not great programs, however I did find this to be quite surprising.

So, I wanted to reach out on PM101 to see if anyone had info on IM programs across Canada, particularly non-Ontario programs

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I have heard nothing but poor reviews for UBC from upper year residents. Some were UBC residents, others had friends who were miserable at UBC (saying that it was service-heavy, not supportive).  However, talking to some current UBC R1s, they seemed to be genuinely happy there. I'm quite puzzled by the discrepancy.

Would be curious to learn more about all the IM programs (esp. non-Ontario ones) as well!

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I have also heard that UBC IM is pretty terrible in terms of service. Talked to a couple of current R1s who were quite burned out especially with Covid. Unfortunately, it's hard to get much from the socials as they all say good things about all the programs so I take them with a grain of salt.

I am from Alberta and have personally heard amazing things about both IM programs here; especially Calgary IM seems to be doing a great job with the perfect balance of teaching and service.

Would also love to hear more about the Ontario and McGill programs.

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Here're my personal notes for some of the Ontario programs (correct me if I'm wrong!):

Toronto: Service heavy (strict 1:4 call throughout, but there are plans to reduce the calls for PGY2/PGY3s), great teaching, mixed reviews re: collegiality/culture (and can vary depending on base hospital). Several residents from the GTA said it was worth it for the city/staying close to family. 

Queen's: Relatively few calls (average 4-5 calls per block), super collegial, residents are happy. Slightly smaller catchment area so the fellowship programs may not be the best. 

Western: Also very collegial, and residents are happy. Relatively light call burden in PGY2/PGY3 years (don't have the exact numbers unfortunately). Free lunches. Lots of formal/informal teaching. 

Ottawa: Collegial group, and program is overall very supportive. Large catchment area.  Some staff still expect post-call rounding. There are plans of introducing a night float system but timing is uncertain. 

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4 hours ago, ihsh said:

Toronto: Service heavy (strict 1:4 call throughout, but there are plans to reduce the calls for PGY2/PGY3s), great teaching, mixed reviews re: collegiality/culture (and can vary depending on base hospital). Several residents from the GTA said it was worth it for the city/staying close to family. 

I'm really curious to learn what people are thinking about the differences in collegiality/culture among the different base hospitals at U of T?

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4 hours ago, jjenn said:

Any idea if the negative reviews of UBC IM are specific to Vancouver or does this also apply to Vancouver Island?

I also wonder if the criticisms of UBC are site specific. From the medical school perspective I've talked to students who had relatively good experiences on IM, whereas others (at VGH) had pretty strict 1:4 call, never slept on any of their call shifts, sometimes reviewed cases with staff till 10 am the next day, etc., and overall it was pretty brutal.

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33 minutes ago, Redpill said:

I also wonder if the criticisms of UBC are site specific. From the medical school perspective I've talked to students who had relatively good experiences on IM, whereas others (at VGH) had pretty strict 1:4 call, never slept on any of their call shifts, sometimes reviewed cases with staff till 10 am the next day, etc., and overall it was pretty brutal.

 

4 hours ago, jjenn said:

Any idea if the negative reviews of UBC IM are specific to Vancouver or does this also apply to Vancouver Island?

I have limited info about UBC Vancouver Island (word of mouth mostly) but I heard it's generally better compared to UBC Vancouver.

I think as residents, UBC Vancouver is brutal in all of the CTU sites. At busier hospitals, the sheer volume of consults can keep you up all night and late post-call, and at less busy CTU hospitals, being responsible for ward calls for all CTU teams + consults makes it a terrible experience. I have heard that they are trying to make some changes, however.

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9 hours ago, ihsh said:

Here're my personal notes for some of the Ontario programs (correct me if I'm wrong!):

Toronto: Service heavy (strict 1:4 call throughout, but there are plans to reduce the calls for PGY2/PGY3s), great teaching, mixed reviews re: collegiality/culture (and can vary depending on base hospital). Several residents from the GTA said it was worth it for the city/staying close to family. 

Queen's: Relatively few calls (average 4-5 calls per block), super collegial, residents are happy. Slightly smaller catchment area so the fellowship programs may not be the best. 

Western: Also very collegial, and residents are happy. Relatively light call burden in PGY2/PGY3 years (don't have the exact numbers unfortunately). Free lunches. Lots of formal/informal teaching. 

Ottawa: Collegial group, and program is overall very supportive. Large catchment area.  Some staff still expect post-call rounding. There are plans of introducing a night float system but timing is uncertain. 

Thanks! This is very helpful. Do you have any info about the two McMaster sites by any chance?

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18 hours ago, DarkKnight99 said:

Thanks! This is very helpful. Do you have any info about the two McMaster sites by any chance?

I have heard that McMaster's Hamilton site provides very good training with a lot of faculty support. However, residents often have a lot of responsibility (which contributes to the learning) and busy calls. I do not know much about the Waterloo program. 

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17 hours ago, TorontoTrot said:

Toronto and Mac seem to be the toughest programs by a margin (in Ontario). I'm from Toronto and there's no way i'm not ranking it first but I feel like i'm sort of condemning myself here. Anyways let's hope I like IM as much as I think I do!

Rank in order of your true preference. There is no downside to you if that is your actual preference. If you rank Toronto number 1 and Toronto ranks you to mach, you go to the t-dot, if Toronto does not, you just move on to your second choice without penalty.

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19 hours ago, TorontoTrot said:

Toronto and Mac seem to be the toughest programs by a margin (in Ontario). I'm from Toronto and there's no way i'm not ranking it first but I feel like i'm sort of condemning myself here. Anyways let's hope I like IM as much as I think I do!

I heard that schools often prefer their own students for fellowships. So Toronto and Mac may be good if you're from the GTA if you want to be here for the long term! That's how I've been rationalizing it haha

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Some notes on Sask IM for anyone interested:

  • PGY1: 6-7 blocks of CTU, 2-3 subspecialty, 1 CCU, 1 neurology, 1 ER, 0.5 ambulatory clinic
  • PGY2: 2 blocks of icu, 4-5 blocks of selectives, 3 electives OOP total, 0.5-1 block of CTU
  • New modern hospitals.
  • Tons of opportunities for procedures in both sites.
  • Saskatoon: great outdoors, beautiful trails, Remai Modern (new art museum), great food scene (highest # of restaurants per capita in Canada?) and affordable, Roxy theatre, fireworks festival, fun winter activities, affordable housing, easy commuting.
  • Regina: Smaller, tight-knit program, tons of hands-on opportunities to do procedures, an additional $3k of research funding (on top of money given by usask) only for regina students. No subspecialty call (great work-life balance).Beautiful parks and lakes! Wascana lake only steps from RGH. Some of the best breweries and great restaurants. Affordable housing and less traffic. Program receptive to feedback.
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My first two are pretty set in stone (Toronto/Mac), not sure how i'll rank the next 3 yet. There are great things about these two programs, and being close to home puts them over the top.

To me, the appeal of some of the other programs is potentially a more collegial and balanced residency. I would probably go Ottawa and Western next but my GF really loves Kingston so might have to rank Queens higher lol. 

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14 hours ago, justwannabeadoc said:

How is everyone ranking Ontario internal medicine programs?

For Ontario IM I'm ranking

1. Toronto (Reason: I'm from the GTA, and I feel Toronto is great for research and future subspecialty training)

2. McMaster (Reason: I'm from the GTA and I heard that residents feel very well prepared coming out of Mac internal, given that you have a large patient load early on in your training)

3. Queens (Reason: I heard that this is a very strong program and great collegiality. I also think that Kingston is a great city and a great place to study)

4. Ottawa (Reason: Good program, but from what I heard not as strong as the ones I've listed before this)

5. Western (Reason: From what I have heard there is good collegiality. However, from speaking with IM residents, I get the sense that Toronto, Mac and Queen's offer better training)

 

Btw, I gathered this info from talking with IM residents, so I can't guarantee how accurate it is, since viewpoints probably vary from resident to resident. I'm also certain that most IM programs will prepare you well!

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