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Why should I choose Queen's Meds?

Guest not too sure

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Guest not too sure

I have been accepted into Western, Queen's, and U of T meds, but am having the toughest time choosing between the three. I did my undergrad at Queen's, and live close to Toronto, but am considering Western as well. Could someone please help me compare the three schools, and tell me features of Queen's that give it an edge over the other two? What makes this school different? I hope that this will help me be better informed when I make my decision.


Thanks for your help!

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Guest Raucus Bacchus

Well, I think you should choose UofT since I am waitlisted at the other two!


Well, all three have great programs. That would be a very tough choice!



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Guest JC15

Since I have obviously never attended UofT's or Western's med school, I can't directly compare Queen's to them. However, I can tell you what makes Queen's so great and hope to sell you on that!


I moved to Kingston from BC not knowing a soul in Ontario. I was a little nervous at first, but I got to know my classmates really quickly. We have a small class size (100) compared to the other schools which makes it really easy to get to know each other. Kingston is also small compared to the other cities. I'm from Vancouver, so I'm used to the big city, but Kingston is actually very charming. The school is less than a 10 minute walk from downtown which has all these neat little shops. Everyone in our class pretty much lives within a 15 minute radius of each other so it's really easy to get together and a car isn't really a necessity. (I guess you know all this stuff since you went to Queen's, but this is just for the sake of other readers...) Our class is very tight...when we said good-bye at the end of exams in May, a lot of tears were shed! It's hard to believe how close you become after 9 months.


Our program combines traditional lecture-based learning with a little bit of PBL. PBL actually doesn't start until 2nd term. 1st term (Phase I) is all a review of basic sciences and anatomy. It's not too tough and it's a great semester to catch up on your sciences, ease your way into med school and really get to know your classmates. 2nd term (Phase IIA) we start "real medicine" and we have units in immunology, microbiology, infectious diseases, hematology, dermatology, oncology and musculoskeletal system. We have PBL every Monday afternoon. The material in PBL is not new material; it is more to reiterate what we learned in class. I think the selling point of our program is our Clinical Skills course. This starts in Phase I and continues every Thursday until our OSCE (the clinical skills exam) in May. We learn how to do a comprehensive history and physical. In Phase I, we mostly practice on each other. By the end of Phase I, we knew how to do a complete screening physical. In Phase II we rotate through various situations so that we get to see hospital in-patients, pediatric patients, psychiatric patients, standardized patients (actors that make up a scenario), volunteer patients and a technical skills course where we learn to suture. We also learn to do more specialized histories such as sexual and spiritual histories. We are also allowed to do observerships whenever we want. You just call up a doctor in a field you're interested in and they'll let you follow them around. I did an ER shift and actually got to suture a laceration on a patient's head! At Queen's, you get lots of exposure to patients.


There are also a lot of extra-curricular events. Our class organized many activities such as a ski trip to Tremblant, a trip to the Corel Centre to watch the Leafs/Sens games, a trip to the ACC to watch the Raptors, an official guys/girls night charity event each semester, lots of intramural sports, a class potluck, and various other events. There are also electives that you can participate in.


I really enjoyed my first year at Queen's. I'm sure wherever you choose to study medicine, you'll be happy...but this is just a little insight into why I think Queen's is great!


Good luck making your decision...and congrats on all the acceptances!!



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Guest seedstrike

Jenny did a pretty good job of summarizing most of the good things about Queen's so I'll mention a few that need improvement....


But before i start, let me just say that I'm extremely pleased that I'm a student here at Queen's and wouldn't have it any other way...


So here it goes...


1. Curriculum needs a little tightening. There have been times when the same material has been repeated twice because there seems to be a lack of communication between the dozens of profs we cycle through.


2. PBL!! I hate it with a passion...but then i hear PBL at Queen's isn't exactly the 'true' PBL that was invented at Mac. Part of the reason why i feel this way may be my personality...I seem to learn better with didactic teaching .


3. Not enough time for clerkships...we start our clerkships later in the third year compared to other ontario schools.


4. Notes packages...range from decent to utterly dismal. Many of the profs also seem to have a problem making the notes available on time.


5. Cumulative Exams - haven't quite figured out yet if this is a good or a bad thing. At Queen's, we only have one set of exams at the end of each semester. There's usually a practical, a short answer, and a MCQ exam. In addition, there' also a clinical skills exam (the OSCE) where we are tested on our history and physical exam skills on actors. Suffice to say, the last 3 to 4 weeks of each semester are Hell.


These are some of the things I found lacking at Queen's. However, now that i've been here for a year, i can honestly say that none of these problems are serious enough to make me doubt my decision to come to Queen's (in the interest of full disclosure: this was my only acceptance out of three interviews...other two were waitlists).


Sure Queen's has problems but i'm pretty sure similar problems exist at other schools as well. As far as the clerkship issue goes, sure we start later than other schools. However, there are plenty of opportunities to gain experience outside of clerkships. I have friends who have done gazillions of observerships with different doctors...I know of first years who have gotten the opportunity to intubate patients, stitch up wounds, scrub in for surgeries etc. In the end, it's all what u make of it.


Hope this helps.


Edited to correct grammatical errors

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Guest jeff

after going through medical school...the bottom line is securing the residency at the location you want. i don't think any school has a particular advantage. it is up to you, the individual to do it.


queen's is alright, the shortened clerkship is i think good because another day of it and i would have poked my eye out with a fork...actually, another day of med school and i would have poked my eye out.

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Guest bananacreampie


In the ER in Calgary, we actually had a patient dig out his eyeball with a plastic spoon (wasn't safe enough), wonder if he was a clerk :b

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Guest Sarah371

As someone who just finished I can say that while our clerkship is shortened somewhat from other schools you don't really lose that much from it.....the clinical skills program is so strong that by the time you meet other clerks on electives you find that you are competitive even though they may have a few months of clerkship on you.


My only suggestion is to save the elective at your first choice school until the fall of fourth year....that way you do have eight months of clerkship under your belt. Queen's students do match well if that is any indication of the training.


As for Kingston it is a great town to do undergrad medicine in. The hospitals are ten minutes walk apart....you are often on service with one resident and the attending meaning you gets lots of responsibility. Also as mentioned above the docs are really open to observerships.


As has been said so many times before go with your gut...where did you feel you fit in the best at interviews and where would you be happiest?

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