Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums

Name and Shame Thread for Toronto Med School Posted to **DELETED**, thoughts?


Recommended Posts

3 hours ago, AnonPreMed12 said:

As rеddit links are filtered for some reason, here it is:

Quote

Posting this for a member of our community who wants to remain anonymous.

Am currently a 3rd year medical student at the University of Toronto. I've really tried to find the words over the last few weeks to describe how unsupportive and unforgiving the school has been to us 3rd years. I'll break this down into categories:

Background: Toronto has been the hardest hit city in Canada with COVID, with second and third waves overwhelming the healthcare system at points. Vaccines are hard to come by, and the current provincial schedule is set up so that your 2nd shot is 4 months after your first (only 60% protected in the interim). As for MS3s, we've been expected to be in the hospital throughout this chaos without any break. In Canada, it's also much harder for those of us who have only been partially vaccinated to refuse to see COVID patients, since LORs are king for residency apps. If we don't smile and nod every time we're asked to see a COVID patient, we get destroyed on our evals and on residency apps. With that outta the way, lets start.

Mental health: Toronto truly treats this as a joke. People in my class have suffered through mental breakdowns from not seeing family/being isolated/having to impress everyday, the constant changes in provincial guidelines around gatherings, the opening/reopening/repeat chaos. What does our uber prestigious school do about this? Nothing. The admin's completely unforgiving around absences: if we're absent for more than 3 days in a rotation, that's not allowed and will eat into your elective time. Contracted COVID because you couldn't say no and were only partially immunized? Boom: now you're isolating at home for 2 weeks and will be expected to make that up during the time devoted to electives (Sub-Is basically, but much higher stakes in Canada since they decide your LORs/residency chances). Did I also mention that Toronto students get the lowest elective time in the country (14 weeks)? We've kicked and screamed and sent documentation to faculty about how student wellness is in the gutter right now throughout the year. **Their response** so far is to set up mandatory reflection sessions, email the link to the wellness office, and set up useless town hall meetings where no one shows up because we're all supposed to be in the hospital. We've been told how the faculty attendings have had it rough, but they're not in debt and not at the mercy of an oppressive system.

Academics: Faculty have been completely unforgiving about this. Our passing requirements are probably the highest in the country and far less lenient than other schools (e.g. McMaster, Queen's). We have these 'mastery' exams at the end of each rotation (a.k.a. shelf exams, but created by the school so far more poorly worded and confusing than NBMEs). You need a 70% to pass the rotation, and a 60% to not be forced to put in 2 extra weeks of clinicals. Got a 69%? Too bad: here's some extra work got a 69% in a mastery (a.k.a. school-administered shelf exam)? Too bad, here's some extra work that you'll have to do that will eat into your next rotation. Got a 59%? Welp, there go 2 weeks off your elective time. I get that there need to be standards because we're going to be doctors, but in light of these extreme circumstances, is it not reasonable to be a bit more lenient like other schools? Every rotation also has a couple of extra nonsense assignments (a.k.a. please reflect on a patient encounter), which again eat into our study time and haven't been taken out.

Just needed someone to see this because people in the US might be under the false impression that Canada is a utopia; we're not. Toronto's faculty members have been ignoring/outright dismissing our pleas and seem more concerned with gathering a Twitter following for their 'advocacy' (i.e. crapping on the Ford government) than actually doing something about the institution that they *can* change. Since there's virtually no break between 3rd and 4th year and it's straight to electives after our last rotation (unlike with 4th years who got a 4 month break in the first wave), I fear that something serious might happen with how badly our class has been pushed.

I can't comment on the COVID stuff, as am not doing medical school during COVID, but I would be surprised if the problems described were unique to U of T. Also I had less elective time at Mac, but 3 year program so fair enough!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds about right  for UofT's culture and atmosphere. It's a sink or swim place unfortunately, as far as I know about doing residency there, and from experience doing undergrad there. So not surprised about the medical school having the same ambience. 

It's not just COVID related, it's exacerbated by COVID. The place give you a sense that the person sitting next to you is a thousand miles away. It feels like a big machine, very well designed, constantly churning at exceptional accuracy, but there's no life, it's all steel and grease, nuts and bolts. A kind of mechanical fervor, metronomic temperament. 

All I can suggest is band together with your classmates and help each other out. Help each other study, gather resources. I know some people in med school will have a zero sum mentality but you should ignore them. A solid group of 4-6 close friends can really make a difference when it comes to academic synergy, not to mention looking after each other's mental well being etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't the 14 weeks only UofT's 4th year pre-Carms electives? So if you add their third year electives which I think is 4 weeks(I could be wrong), that's 18 weeks pre-Carms. Doesn't Mac get 10-12 weeks pre-Carms depending on your stream?  Pretty unfair to say Mac gets 24 weeks when a decent chunk of it is post-Carms

Also I know that the pass grade at U of Sask is set at 70 percent as well so this is pretty standard. They'd probably hate U of Manitoba since classes are curved and the passing grade set at 80 percent of the average of the top 10 percent of students.

Also, the GTA has been at the epicentre of Covid in Ontario. Somewhat unfair to compare it to Queens as Kingston has been in the green zone for a decent while.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is not a unique problem... many medical schools have different variations of this problem. 

This is also not unique to medical students... I've also heard of nightmare stories from residents across the country. 

Medical schools across the country have a lot of improvements to make to the systemic underlying system. I do appreciate the students trying to speak out... these conversations need to happen and not be forgotten. It's hard enough that people mainly think of graduating so they can be just done with things but systemic changes will take time. 

- G

Link to post
Share on other sites

The way we’ve made change to McGill is by constantly advocating to the faculty - we have many vocal student reps and that’s the key to voicing these concerns at a higher level. Quebec has a culture of “protest” and standing up for things so definitely recommend you band together as students and come up with a letter and use your reps to advocate for you. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I must have had an atypical experience at Toronto during a short pre-pandemic elective - I generally felt both supported and welcomed and ended up with an excellent/stellar eval.  But, maybe it was the particular preceptor who was in charge - a really nice person.  

I had a *lot* of difficulty overcoming a cultural/language barrier at my "home school" - but my experience at Toronto motivated me to continually work as hard I could believing that better destinations were possible.  But, I can strongly identify with the sense of isolation, academic challenges etc due to my context.

Although, I think my school used to have one of the highest attrition rates in Canada before they switched to P/F.

LANGUAGE TANGENT

 It's amazing how just how for some growing up in Montreal, or with parents that speak different languages, means that people then will have a lifetime advantage of being bilingual, trilingual - trying to gain that later in life is much harder and less efficient fromstudies (my own experience strongly corroborates that aspect).  

I've seen some interesting research on why from a neurological point of view this may be the case, but nothing definitive.  For instance the later one learns another language, the more the brain ends up changing - vs learning them initially at the same time.  This suggests that language acquisition is occurring via different biological mechanisms later in life.     

It does have enormous practical consequences though - language is usually one of the highest concerns of immigrants.  Of course, immigrating at a young age usually means being able to speak the language like a native - which also shows that acquisition almost entirely environmental, but also time/developmental dependent.  

I don't think it's hopeless - full immersion can still allow one to be fully functional in another language, but unlikely to attain the same level of proficiency as in the native/primary language.  On the other hand, language acquisition, at an older age, is quite a bit more work than just getting into shape.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, bearded frog said:

As rеddit links are filtered for some reason, here it is:

I can't comment on the COVID stuff, as am not doing medical school during COVID, but I would be surprised if the problems described were unique to U of T. Also I had less elective time at Mac, but 3 year program so fair enough!

At mac we are not even allowed to see suspected COVID cases, I am amazed and horrified they are having med students see COVID positive patients at U of T.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In Ottawa, we started seeing covid patients at the beginning of January, but faculty stressed that we could say no if we weren’t comfortable, and most staff and residents asked if we were comfortable as well, in my experience. Before that, we were seeing suspected covid patients, so a lot of us had already inadvertently seen a few. We got our first dose at the beginning of March, so it was nice to have some protection after that, but still a bit nerve-wracking. It’s not so bad for us as fourth years because we’re done now till residency, but I do think healthcare workers should have been able to stay on the regular dosing schedule to have maximal protection without having to wait so long. 
 

Edited to add that some fourth years were assigned to the COVID ward for CTU electives, even before we were vaccinated, so obviously in that case there really wasn’t a choice regarding whether or not to see them. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/6/2021 at 11:08 PM, zoxy said:

Isn't the 14 weeks only UofT's 4th year pre-Carms electives? So if you add their third year electives which I think is 4 weeks(I could be wrong), that's 18 weeks pre-Carms. Doesn't Mac get 10-12 weeks pre-Carms depending on your stream?  Pretty unfair to say Mac gets 24 weeks when a decent chunk of it is post-Carms

Also I know that the pass grade at U of Sask is set at 70 percent as well so this is pretty standard. They'd probably hate U of Manitoba since classes are curved there.

Also, the GTA has been at the epicentre of Covid in Ontario. Somewhat unfair to compare it to Queens as Kingston has been in the green zone for a decent while.

We don't get any 3rd year electives, just the 14 weeks in 4th year, 2 of which are meant to be allocated for vacation(because we don't get any time off during the year save for 1 week in March) but nobody ends up taking vacation. The 2T3 class will have 2 weeks of elective time in 3rd year.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the faculty at UBC might get in trouble if they make med student see COVID patients, at least that's what I'm guessing based on how strongly they stress how we're not to go anywhere near them at the start of all my rotations

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...