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4th year here, kinda hard to compare to other schools since our out of province electives all got cancelled from Covid.

Pros

  • Most elective time for any school in Canada. Crucial if you plan on having a parallel plan for CaRMS applications, which most people do. In my year, Covid was very disruptive to many school electives and it was nice to have a buffer and I think many felt that it was an advantage to have more clinical opportunities to get letters and exposure.
  • Multiple sites for diversity of experience - you rotate through so many different hospitals from rural community to quaternary sites, so you get exposure to a lot of different specialties and how the health care delivery differs. Very unique inner city population served by St Paul's hospital, great learning opportunity. You also have a choice between 4 sites (VFMP, SMP, IMP, NMP) depending on what you are looking for.
  • More laid back atmosphere - UBC really likes to have diverse students from different backgrounds and anecdotally there aren't as many gunners so its supposed to feel more collegial.
  • BC - great place to be, offers lots of outdoor activities from winter to summer that I think other locations would have a hard time competing with.
  • Student involvement - we are lucky that the faculty really values student input and has plenty of opportunity for students to be engaged, from the admissions committee to managing learner mistreatment, there is opportunity if you actively look for it.

Cons

  • ?Large cohort - if you thrive in smaller classes and communities, this might be difficult given large class size. This also means there are a lot of learners on service during clerkship, meaning you may get less 1 on 1 time with teachers and you might not have as many hands on opportunities when it comes to procedures or assisting in the OR. I still haven't done a thoracentesis or LP yet, but another resident from a smaller program in the East coast told me he logged a lot of procedures because there weren't many learners.
  • ?4 years - some people might like 3 years if they're in a rush, I honestly enjoyed having a break here and there.
  • It rains like 90% of the time here, I don't like being on call with wet socks.
  • 24-28 hour call is a thing here, but it is a thing at most other schools.
  • Lots of sites mean you likely need to drive a car during clerkship electives
  • Very expensive cost of living here, kinda getting out of control

Great school 5/7 would do again. Jokes aside, I definitely would have done UBC again if I had to do it all over again. DM me if you want to chat if you're trying to choose between schools.

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2 hours ago, TARS said:

 

Cons

  • ?Large cohort - if you thrive in smaller classes and communities, this might be difficult given large class size. This also means there are a lot of learners on service during clerkship, meaning you may get less 1 on 1 time with teachers and you might not have as many hands on opportunities when it comes to procedures or assisting in the OR. I still haven't done a thoracentesis or LP yet, but another resident from a smaller program in the East coast told me he logged a lot of procedures because there weren't many learners.

Thank you for your detailed answer! I was wondering how much negative impact does this have (i.e. not having enough hands-on experiences)? And, are there ways to look for one-on-one experiences if you really want them?

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8 minutes ago, retawxy said:

Thank you for your detailed answer! I was wondering how much negative impact does this have (i.e. not having enough hands-on experiences)? And, are there ways to look for one-on-one experiences if you really want them?

Honestly, it really varies between schools and your own personal experience, and how much initiative you take to try to get these opportunities. I didn't get a lot of opportunities, but some of my colleagues have gotten plenty. Mix of luck and how hard you look for these opportunities. At the end of the day, it probably doesn't matter because you'll get the adequate exposure during your residency to do these procedures, being able to do them as a medical student is just a bonus. Might be possible you get less procedure/suturing/OR assisting at larger hospitals because of time constraints/lots of learners, and theoretically harder to get good letters talking about your procedural skills if you're applying to a hands-on specialty, BUT I don't think UBC or any of the larger schools have any issues with students matching to the specialties they want, in fact I think they do quite well.

One-on-one experiences really vary, but sometimes you are dealt the hand and not much you can do about it. For example, VGH is a very busy hospital, and CTU can have very large teams and be very service-heavy because of how busy it is. You may get less 1 on 1 time with the attending because there's 5 or 7 other learners on your team, and you have to be considerate of their opportunities as well. The service is very busy so sometimes you might not get time to sit down and chat about topics, but you will get to see a lot of patients, and exposure to subspecialties that smaller hospitals won't have. On other services or if you rotate at a smaller hospital, you might get all the one on one time you want. Regardless, all the students here still turn out fine and are very well trained, so its just personal preference.

TLDR; it probably has minimal impact, it's just a personal experience consideration. All Canadian medical graduates are trained very well and prepared for residency.

 

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59 minutes ago, retawxy said:

Thank you for your detailed answer! I was wondering how much negative impact does this have (i.e. not having enough hands-on experiences)? And, are there ways to look for one-on-one experiences if you really want them?

Agree with @TARS. It’s extremely common for people to go through 3rd/4th year without that much hands on experience. Most people from most big schools will not have, for example, participated in a code or done CPR, and many will not have done much in the way of procedures. It’s not really a negative. Sometimes in early medical school you’re also just too overwhelmed - you might have observed a code or two, but not yet have the confidence to participate. That’s normal. 

There are ways to get more one-on-one experiences at UBC if you want them. At the distributes sites you’re much more often going to be getting one-on-one teaching or in a smaller team with fewer specialty residents. And even at VFMP there are community sites - many people rotate through smaller places like Richmond, North Vancouver, Delta hospital, etc for some of their rotations, where you get more one-on-one teaching. UBC also has a longitudinal clerkship program, where you do your whole third year in a smaller community - lots of hands on teaching there, usually with only a handful of other Med students and some family practice residents. And in 4th year, which is entirely electives, you get to pick - if you want to do all of your rotations in community hospitals, you can. If procedures are important to you, you can max out your time in electives like Emerg or rural family/IM and jump on every procedure that comes up. In 4th year, no one will make you go to a big hospital like VGH. But as @TARS mentioned, if you avoid the big hospitals completely you might miss out on some subspecialty exposure. Which, again, may or may not matter depending on what you want you want to do. Overall, the learning is often what you make of it and what opportunities you seek out. 

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