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Clerkship Electives


Guest PDSP

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A few quick questions:

1) How many weeks of electives do Queens students have in advance of CaRMS?

 

2) Is it true that clerkship begins in January of 3rd year?

 

3) Why is that only 49% of Queens students got their first residency choice, compared to 71% at U of T and McMaster?

 

Thanks,

 

PD

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Guest RAK2005

Welll, first off, the 49 % match-rate to first choice program and specialty is much lower because of the number of non-family medicine residency applications. Queen's has become more of a specialty-geared school over the last few application cycles. Last years class actually had ~ 10 % of their class apply to Urology (which is a highly competitive specialty) of which only 3 % of them matched.

 

As for electives, they DO start in 3rd year, after January, although they typically start after a core rotation in surgery, anaethsiology (or EM?), which puts you into the beginning of Feb. The total elective period is 12 Weeks. It is possible to do some of the other core rotations at different sites (i.e. Family Medicine).

 

While this is typically a shorter elective period than some other schools, the timing is good, as you can get the letters for CaRMS matching well before the December deadline. A con is that the Feb 3rd placement preceptor may not remember you all that well (hence, make a damn good impression in Feb !).

 

Hope this helps.

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Guest strider2004

I'm currently on electives so I can probably verify a few things. Yep, we start clerkship in the middle of third year and our electives begin about 4-5 weeks after that. WE get 13-14 weeks of electives which is actually the upper limit of what's allowed by Canadian schools. You're only allowed 12 weeks of elective per year and while some schools have 16 weeks, that means that the other 4 weeks are either after interviews or I guess it could be in the fall of 3rd year.

 

In terms of experience and getting good exposure...my first elective went quite well and I don't think at all that I was at a disadvantage by doing it so early in my clerkship experience. Your attendings know that you've only been a clerk for a few weeks an they take that into account (ie. "For a clerk with so little experience, they are very capable, etc etc") As for references forgetting you, it can easily be avoided by asking them EARLY (ie. before you leave) for a reference. They'll do one in a few weeks and put it on file for you. Then come CaRMS tim, they'll just pull our their letter and send it off. No more worries about them forgetting who you are.

 

RAK was right about Queens students choosing specialties. We usually tie McGil in terms of the least number of students choosing FM. Our students tend to do quite well and tend to match a disproportionately high number of highly competitive specialties (like plastics). One reason is that here they stress early career decision making. That means that come the end of 2nd year, you should know what you want to do (hopefully). THen you have all of the 2nd summer to get ready - beef up your application. Queens students tend to prepare earlier for residency matching and it shows. We all do research after 2nd year (mandatory) and that's usually in a field that you're interested in. In terms of competitiveness in residency, I certainly don't think that going to Queens puts you at a disadvantage. Actually, I don't think going to ANY school puts you at a disadvantage. It just depends on the character of students that the school chooses. It just so happens that Queens students tend to prefer specialties and other schools (ie Ottawa) have a higher preference for FM.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Petra

To any Queens students, perhaps you can help explain this! I am very cofused as to how you can have your clerkship start in jan of third year, then electives shortly after. Shouldnt you have to complete all the core rotations before you do any electives?? Does the Queens system then limit students from doing some of their electives abroad, as most schools will are reluctant to accept third year clerks period (or students who havent completed the majority of their core rotations), which seems like a double whammy for queens, b/c clerkchip doesnt even start until the middle of the year? Or is there also elective time in fourth year, or can you spread it out?? How flexible is this system?

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Guest Koggetsu

I'm also confused as to the clerkship and electives that has been mentioned here. Can someone explain to me what they are and the difference between the 2?

Also where did u find the stats for the % of placements and stuff?

 

thankx

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Guest Koggetsu

Thanx Ian, that was a great post

However, do u know where I can get those stats for the residencies and stuff between the different schools? I'm trying to find out some differences between the 5 Ontario schools so that maybe if i get the chance to choose (haha) I can make a better choice.

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Guest Ian Wong

As far as I know, there is no formal list between schools; it's all passed down through word of mouth. I think it's far more important to choose the school you think fits you best; getting into a residency is an extremely individual thing, and depends so much more on you than it does on your school.

 

Ian

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Guest Koggetsu

I see what you mean about the residency, so I guess it shouldn't be a factor when choosing a school.

But here is my problem right now, I've been to the some of the websites for the Ontario schools and so far, I haven't really noticed a big difference in the schools or programs except maybe for Mac (but I'm not getting interviewed there anyways!). So what factors should I be concerned with or what big differences are there between the schools that I should consider? I only know like 1 or 2 medical students so I can't get much info from people who study in medicine.

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Guest Ian Wong

All sorts of things:

 

Tuition, housing costs, cost of living, friends and family nearby, desire to live in a new city or stick with one you know, weather, availability of outdoor activities/sports venues/any of your hobbies, ethnic and cultural diversity, lots of PBL vs less PBL (ditto for lectures), flexibility within the curriculum to do outside electives and how early on, whether you feel like you "clicked" with the school when you interviewed there, opinions of current med students when you interview, etc, etc.

 

Basically, you are signing up for a long-term committment and you need to answer the following question: Which city and med school would I be most happy attending, given all of the above factors? Any med school in Canada can train you to be a good doctor, but you also want to be happy during that time to maximise your experience.

 

Ian

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Guest Petra

Thanx for all the info Ian!

 

I still have to say that I am still confused about how Queen's having their electives so early, and their clerkship start so late does not put you at a disadvantage, especially if you are interested in doing some abroad.

 

Anyone have anything to add to this?

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Guest dalgrad03

so - are the core rotations all completed in the 4-5 weeks in January of 3rd year? Or are more completed in 4th year, intermixed with electives?

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Guest strider2004

You have 4-5 weeks of core clerkship in one rotation before your electives. You then have 13-14 weeks of elective and then the rest of your core rotations. As for competitiveness, Queens definitely is not at a disadvantage. Because of the early elective time, they stress early decision making here. You can do a 8-week rotating studentship after 1st year to see what programs you might be interested in. We all have to do research in 2nd year which makes you more competitive for residency. Our pre-clerkship lasts longer because we get more summer holiday which is much appreciated. As for doing electives abroad:

1.) Either way you've be setting them up in the fall, no matter where you'd be doing your elective. I have classmates who are doing rotations in the states.

2.) Abroad as in overseas? Where do you plan on doing residency? I did an internal medicine elective in the Netherlands last year but that was through a different program. A few people each year do the US match (NRMP) but most students stay in Canada.

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Guest Petra

are you able to choose which core rotation you start with in january, so that when you do your electives in that particular area, you will have had some in depth exposure? (i.e. do a rotation in lets say surgery and then an elective in ortho)

 

As for abroad, i guess I mean both. I thought it would be neat to see how medicine works in other coutries, but from what i hear during your electives probably isnt the best time, esp if yoou want to do something competative! And for US, although I want to and plan on doing my residency in Canada, I would like to keep my options open in case of family, etc.

 

If you dont mind my asking, what electives have people done in the states and at which schools? I was under the impression they didnt accept students until their fourth year for electives, as well as had completed their core rotations.

 

Anyways, thanx for all you input guys!!!!

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Guest strider2004

I know people who have gone to the states to do electives in neurosurgery, plastic surgery. All you need to do is write your USMLE Step 1 beforehand. As for electives in 4th year vs 3rd year, it doesn't really matter. Other schools such as Calgary and McMaster also have electives early in their clerkship.

Yes, you get to decide your core rotation before your elective...to a degree. It's a bit of a lottery but for the most part, you get the choice.

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Guest Petra

ok, i more question (i promise!!), how does this lottery work? You put in your request, and then they process everybodies? How many people get what they want to start with?

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Guest strider2004

Well there are 4 blocks in clerkship. Internal Medicine, surgery/emerg/anesthesia, peds/OB/GYN, and FM/psych/geriatrics. Our class has about 80 people so there are a quarter of us in each thing in each block. That means in the first part before electives, there will be 20 people in each rotation.

You are guaranteed to get your preferred rotation in the first 2 blocks of clerkship. This way your marks get send into CaRMS on time. Surgery is a more competitive area so I'd say about half of the people who want to be surgeons get to do surgery before their electives. I don't think it really hurts you though. It doesn't take too long into your elective to do well at what you're doing. The hardest part is learning how the hospital system works and you'll always have to get accustomed to each hospital.

 

Also if you do surgery after electives, then you would have had so much usrgery exposure that you're be a superstar in your core rotation and would get great marks - that counts a lot for CaRMS too.

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Guest kellyl20

If most wanted to do a specialty, then everyone will be fighting to put "family" to the very last. Then I would imagine one would not get their choices usually or not any better chance then by lottery. Would this be a fair assumption that most want to put "family" towards the end, and of course not all could?

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Guest strider2004

I wouldn't say that. About a quarter of our class wants to do family. When you want a specialty, you don't think "oh geez I want to do anything but family!!" so it's not like you rank everything in front of family. In fact, if you liked everything so much you'd probably want to do family because that's the only thing that could give you such broad exposure!

 

Anyway, no, not everybody is fighting to put family last. I'm actually not sure what everyone wanted. All I know is that I had a specific order for all of my rotations and I got exactly what I wanted. I'm doing internal medicine first (want to do internal), familypsych in the summer (cuz it's the summer), peds/OB/GYN, then surgery last because I have no intentions on doing surgery. You don't fight to put family last. You could put it 2nd or 3rd or 4th. No big deal.

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Guest RAK2005

Strider, I have a question for you...

 

How is it in your elective time that you've got so much time to waste on this board ? Your slackerness is giving me hope come next year ;)

 

Where and which electives are you doing ?

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Guest strider2004

I'm in Calgary right now doing respirology. This week has been clinic week and it's been kinda slow...like right about now! It's 6:45am and rounds start at 7am. The library is across the hall from the clinic so if nothing is going on...I pop over to the computers.

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Guest Petra

Thankyou so much for all your help strider. It all makes a lot more sense now, but I'm still feeling a little apprehensive, because there were some schools that I was looking at possibly doing electives at that say you must have completed all relevent core rotations, so I'm assuming it would really suck if you got surg 2nd. But I also heard that its possible to trade your fam med rotation for electives, (???) so if it is 3rd or 4th, even if you get surg 2nd, you could wait to do your electives?

 

Anyhow, I guess my primary concern should be actually getting in, and then IF I have a choice, maybe worry about it more (but really studying neuropharmacology is alot less exciting than worrying about this stuff!!)

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Guest strider2004

Even those school that have a 'policy' for only allowing 4th year students in for electives will make the exception for Queen's. I think UofT has that policy but I know lots of classmates (like 1/3) who have done or are doing an elective in Toronto. It doesn't matter if you've done the core rotation or not.

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