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For those of us who may have to choose between attending Memorial or Dalhousie medical schools, I was wondering if anyone could provide input on the advantages/disadvantages of going to Dal (specifically the NB campus) as opposed to MUN. Quality of education, opportunites for specialties, average living costs, and any other pertinent information would be helpful. I've already been told that the small class size of Dal NB is big plus. Thanks in advance.

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I guess I can only speak from personal preferences, but if that's what you're after, here's my two cents.

 

Qualities that are drawing me to Dal:
- smaller class size (30 at DMNB as compared to 80 at MUN)
- it's in-province (I want to practice in NB for at least a large portion of my career, so that makes sense to me)

- research opportunities (as far as I understand, you can do research sooner --> publish sooner --> be more competitive for residencies)
- also, I think someone mentioned there are more research positions than there are students, so you may even have a choice of 2-3 different projects in your desired field
- Saint John (this is very likely a minority opinion, but I'm kinda fond of the city)

- less pressure to conform to the rural family medicine track that MUN aims for (then again, if that's what you're into, this would be a plus point for MUN)
- better location (I have friends and a partner in Fredericton and couldn't afford to fly back and forth between here and Newfoundland)
- I know more people in the program (both in the incoming class and in the current M1 year)

 

Qualities that are drawing me to MUN:

- cheaper tuition (this is a big one... a difference of $12,000/year is absolutely massive)

- larger focus on bedside manner (as far as I understand, MUN graduates are among the most sought-after for family med residencies)

- there is a swing dance movement in St. John's whereas there isn't one in Saint John (once again, this may only apply to me, but it's a huge hobby of mine)
- marginally better match rate for residencies (then again, this could be confounded by the fact that more MUN graduates than Dal graduates go for family med, for which there are more spots available)
- the atmosphere (I had a slightly homier feeling at the St' John's hospital than I did at the Saint John Regional when I interviewed, but home is really what you make of it)

 

Hope this helps. :) And if any of these assumptions are incorrect/incomplete, I will happily be corrected!

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Biggest factors pushing me to choose MUN over Dal: Tuition/cost of living both significantly in favor of MUN, as stated above almost 12,000$/year. The campus at MUN felt much more like a community, whereas the SJ campus felt very isolated. I like the idea of the smaller class size but I don't like the idea of teleconferenced lectures, I would much rather the lecturer be standing in front of me. Overall they are both great schools but I am more inclined to choose MUN.

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One thing about MUN is definitely a family/rural focus from day one, and they also can great broken up a bit in year 3 and 4 as people take electives around NL. That said it is cheaper, and in NL if you like hikes and outdoors! In terms of programs they are both accredited so probably not much different. Dal has more of a research focus though ! 

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Hey guys!

I just wanted to clarify that MUN definitely has programs and talks outside of the general curriculum focussed on rural med. However, there is definitely no pressure to go into rural. There are many students in Med1 right now who do not want to do rural and the school has no problem with this. MUN just offers a lot of talks and lunches to try and entice you to rural, because let's face it, that's where docs are needed these days! So all in all, MUN's rural focus is a bonus (whether you're into rural or not) - lots of nice talks with food and they fund an awesome golf tournament for us at the beginning of the year to show you what central health is all about. Feel free to message me with any more questions about mun :)

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Sorry I should mention that we do have one component of the program that is very rural focused - our community placements. You're assigned a placement in NL or you're home province (if it's NB or PEI). They are awesome - you get a lot of exposure to things you wouldn't see in urban areas because in rural med, you're often with one of a few docs in the area.

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Would love if people could weigh in on comparing the Halifax campus to Newfoundland as well! Always great to see other people's perspectives on this.

 

Halifax is a uniquely walkable city. So you can walk to class in pre-clerkship and to work in clerkship. I love the restaurants and, well, pretty much most everything about the city. The Tupper Building is fairly typical 60s modernism, but it's pleasant enough. It's not actually on the main Dal campus but is across the street from the VG and IWK hospitals - maybe about a 5-10 minute walk from the Infirmary. 

 

St John's isn't especially walkable by comparison, but you can certainly live in some walkable neighbourhoods - that won't allow you to talk to work, though, unless you consider 45 minutes to an hour reasonable. Pretty much everyone drives because the hospital and med school (they're attached) are on the edge of town next to a big park. The MUN campus itself is next door but fairly inhospitable and cut in half by a major five-lane road. 

 

But there are great restaurants and I manage to go out to eat far too often. At the right time of year I can see icebergs from my windows. And I don't need to get in my car to go on some pretty great hikes. Otherwise, as NLengr wrote in the other thread: 

 

 

 

St. John's is awesome. Best city in Canada. People are awesome. Way more laid back, friendly and fun than the rest of the country. Extremely fun place to live. Excellent hiking and outdoor activities. Excellent Restaraunt and entertainment scene. Way above what you would expect from a place of only 200k. People love to party and have a good time. Cost of living is relatively low vs large cities.

 

NL is culturally distinct from the rest of the country. Even distinct from the rest of Atlantic Canada. Similar to how Quebec is culturally different.

 

And - perhaps because NS isn't all *that* different - it's easy enough to "assimilate", though particularly since for me my name generates lots of questions about whether I'm from the "west coast". 

 

Sorry I should mention that we do have one component of the program that is very rural focused - our community placements. You're assigned a placement in NL or you're home province (if it's NB or PEI). They are awesome - you get a lot of exposure to things you wouldn't see in urban areas because in rural med, you're often with one of a few docs in the area.

 

 

Dal has a rural week now too (and has since 2010!). Most people do at least some rotations outside Halifax. I'm not sure where this "more rural" idea is coming from re: MUN. Otherwise I don't think there's that much more of a research focus at Dal. 

 

To address some specific points: 

 

 

 

- larger focus on bedside manner (as far as I understand, MUN graduates are among the most sought-after for family med residencies)

 

I don't think there's that much difference for clinical skills teaching. But generally speaking MUN clerks are given more responsibility and will get to be more "hands-on" for many rotations. For IM specifically, you'll work more closely with staff and, of course, work with much, much better residents (no bias there...). 

 

 

 

- marginally better match rate for residencies (then again, this could be confounded by the fact that more MUN graduates than Dal graduates go for family med, for which there are more spots available)

 

Dal has had some bad match years since 2012. I'm not sure I'd make assumptions about *you* would do based on these trends. 

 

 

- the atmosphere (I had a slightly homier feeling at the St' John's hospital than I did at the Saint John Regional when I interviewed, but home is really what you make of it)

 

The Regional has more natural light and a (marginally) better cafeteria. Depending on your perspective, the IT system is better, though nothing is more efficient than Meditech. It does feel kinda "cavernous", though, and I think I agree about the "home-ieness" of the HSC. Though I spend far too much time there...

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I cannot weigh in for the NB campus of Dal as I've never lived in Saint John. For those of you attending the Halifax campus, allow me to weigh in a bit. I attended Memorial for my first year of undergrad, and then actually transferred to Dal. I love both Halifax and St John's, and think in many ways they offer very similar experiences. I will second that St John's is not as easy to get around if you're walking, and I'd definitely say Halifax Transit is much easier to navigate than St John's transit system. Travelling in/out of St John's is obviously going to be more of a hassle than Halifax, especially if you prefer to drive. In terms of academics, look to what's been posted above, but in terms of what it's like to live in either city, I know I'd have a hard time choosing. Halifax has been my home for the past 5 years, but there's nothing quite like the hospitality of St John's. (and Moo Moo's ice cream!) 

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For alot of reasons I think MUN is a better decision. On top of all of the academic reasons, I also think it might be better for student lifestyle, the perfect class size and a better city to be student in. Also I wouldn't want to be stuck with the same thirty people I went to undergrad with, would rather meet new people.

 

 

clerkship at MUN is outstanding. You are expected to do a lot of work and are given a lot of responsibility. Far more than Dal, and far far far more than Ontario. Much of this is cultural. Newfoundlanders work HARD, and expect everyone else to too. But hard work is rewarded. On top of that, we have very few fellows. So residents are required to do the work that a fellow would do at a bigger center. As a result, clerks are expected to do the work of a first year resident.

 

 

MUN is well known for training the best clerks in the country. A staff man in Ottawa told me during electives that by far the best clerks are out of MUN and this is a well known statement across the country.

 

You will have no problem matching to where ever you want to go.There are a couple reasons for this. First, you will be more competent than most other clerks in the country. And you will work much harder than them because it's what you are used to. Second, the staff here are excellent. They go out of their way to mentor medical students interested in their specialty. They take a personal interest in teaching you the specialty and getting you matched. They will talk you up to program directors across the country and they will call in favours for you. Third, MUN doesn't have residency programs for some of the smaller residencies (ENT, Uro, Cardiac Surg). As a result it's just you and the staff. You get treated like a resident (which means lots of learning).

 

Quality of Dal's program. The medical school was put on probation a few years ago.year. Also who wants to be taught through a satellite conference.

 

Memorial has one of the best match rates in the country. Dal does not come close to it, and over the last few years has had a horrible match rate which is probably due to having lower quality of students due to the increase in numbers from the Saint John campus. ( Basically anyone from nb can get into dal med)

 

 

Student life at MUN is amazing. Everyone is very close. St. John's is an amazing place to live. The people are extremely friendly. The city is small enough to make it quick to get around, but big enough to have everything you want. If you are into night life, you have THE best nightlife in the country. On top of that, say you live by the university, it's only a $10 cab ride down to the bars. All bars are on one strip called george street. Most bars per square foot in the world. Summer has multiple festivals (from the last week of July to third week of august is non stop festivals). For sports, there is lots to do here. Med school hockey, other hockey, basketball, softball, soccer, rugby, figure skating, lots of golf. It's easy to get involved in all these sports. At least one person in my class did them during school. I did several. Ski hill about 1.5 hours away (750 vert. feet). Best skiing East of the rockies at Marble Mountain about 8 hours away. There is a long weekend trip there for the med school in Feb every year.

 

Also memorial does not focus on rural medicine, nor does it only produce family doctors. Over half my class matched to surgical programs were as less than a third matched to family medicine.

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Memorial has one of the best match rates in the country. Dal does not come close to it.

This also isn't true, as is shown by readily available CaRMS match data. It's great to be proud of your medical program and where you pursued your medical education, but you definitely don't need to propagate lies about other programs to do so.

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For alot of reasons I think MUN is a better decision. On top of all of the academic reasons, I also think it might be better for student lifestyle, the perfect class size and a better city to be student in. Also I wouldn't want to be stuck with the same thirty people I went to undergrad with, would rather meet new people.

 

 

clerkship at MUN is outstanding. You are expected to do a lot of work and are given a lot of responsibility. Far more than Dal, and far far far more than Ontario. Much of this is cultural. Newfoundlanders work HARD, and expect everyone else to too. But hard work is rewarded. On top of that, we have very few fellows. So residents are required to do the work that a fellow would do at a bigger center. As a result, clerks are expected to do the work of a first year resident.

 

 

MUN is well known for training the best clerks in the country. A staff man in Ottawa told me during electives that by far the best clerks are out of MUN and this is a well known statement across the country.

 

You will have no problem matching to where ever you want to go.There are a couple reasons for this. First, you will be more competent than most other clerks in the country. And you will work much harder than them because it's what you are used to. Second, the staff here are excellent. They go out of their way to mentor medical students interested in their specialty. They take a personal interest in teaching you the specialty and getting you matched. They will talk you up to program directors across the country and they will call in favours for you. Third, MUN doesn't have residency programs for some of the smaller residencies (ENT, Uro, Cardiac Surg). As a result it's just you and the staff. You get treated like a resident (which means lots of learning).

 

Quality of Dal's program. The medical school was put on probation a few years ago.year. Also who wants to be taught through a satellite conference.

 

Memorial has one of the best match rates in the country. Dal does not come close to it, and over the last few years has had a horrible match rate which is probably due to having lower quality of students due to the increase in numbers from the Saint John campus. ( Basically anyone from nb can get into dal med)

 

 

Student life at MUN is amazing. Everyone is very close. St. John's is an amazing place to live. The people are extremely friendly. The city is small enough to make it quick to get around, but big enough to have everything you want. If you are into night life, you have THE best nightlife in the country. On top of that, say you live by the university, it's only a $10 cab ride down to the bars. All bars are on one strip called george street. Most bars per square foot in the world. Summer has multiple festivals (from the last week of July to third week of august is non stop festivals). For sports, there is lots to do here. Med school hockey, other hockey, basketball, softball, soccer, rugby, figure skating, lots of golf. It's easy to get involved in all these sports. At least one person in my class did them during school. I did several. Ski hill about 1.5 hours away (750 vert. feet). Best skiing East of the rockies at Marble Mountain about 8 hours away. There is a long weekend trip there for the med school in Feb every year.

 

Also memorial does not focus on rural medicine, nor does it only produce family doctors. Over half my class matched to surgical programs were as less than a third matched to family medicine.

 

 

Many, many things you say here are simply not true. Check your facts and also check your ability to be self-critical of your own school. Clearly you can be critical of other schools with limited information and false facts. 

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sorry I don't mean to be harsh but this is from personal experience and disproving the false information that was stated earlier on. No the match rate at memorial is not better because more people go into family and no its focus is not only on family medicine . Also I know many new brunswickers at both schools and writing this from when I was given information to choose between the schools and from the four years of feedback from people at both schools. Take it as you like.

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clerkship at MUN is outstanding. You are expected to do a lot of work and are given a lot of responsibility. Far more than Dal, and far far far more than Ontario. Much of this is cultural. Newfoundlanders work HARD, and expect everyone else to too. But hard work is rewarded. On top of that, we have very few fellows. So residents are required to do the work that a fellow would do at a bigger center. As a result, clerks are expected to do the work of a first year resident.

 

MUN is well known for training the best clerks in the country. A staff man in Ottawa told me during electives that by far the best clerks are out of MUN and this is a well known statement across the country.

 

[...]

 

Quality of Dal's program. The medical school was put on probation a few years ago.year. Also who wants to be taught through a satellite conference.

 

 

Disclosure: I went to Dal (one of if not the last classes pre-NB campus). Current MUN resident in a program that provides considerable exposure to clerks/students. 

 

Overall MUN clerks are fairly good, though I'm not sure I'd say they're any better prepared than anyone at Dal on average. Often they are asked to take on more patients than Dal clerks would be on CTU. But it's not a huge difference, especially when compared to how CTU in Saint John works. When I was on surgery services as a clerk I was probably working harder than most MUN clerks, if only because the QEII services are just that much busier (e.g. doing gen surg in Grand-Falls is definitely good experience for a med student, but isn't comparable in hours or intensity to three weeks on Surgery E in Halifax). When I was on neurosurg there wasn't even always a resident in the OR, so it would end up being just me and the staff. I was drilling burr holes on my first day. 

 

As for IM, clerks are sometimes asked to take on more patients than they might be at Dal, but I find there is a lot of heterogeneity in documentation skills. Supervision also tends to be lacking at St Clare's, and I would not regard "hard work" there as reflecting an ideal situation. 

 

At no time do we EVER expect clerks to be functioning at the level of a first year resident, and I can't think of many (if any) who could replace an intern. At the very least, not being able to write orders means your function is really quite limited. 

 

Lack of fellows mainly means that sometimes R1s will be covering CCU overnight by themselves in the winter. It doesn't have a lot of implications for clerks - even at Dal I can't think of many times that I worked with any fellows at all. (And when I did it was on things like ID or GI and it was pretty helpful!)

 

Probation was a silly issue that had mostly to do with bureaucratic issues about "curriculum mapping" and the availability of lockers at the HI. Since then the program has been entirely revamped (much for the better I'd say - I was extensively involved in it). 

 

As for match rates, I'm not aware of the NB students having had comparably more difficulty than the Halifax-based students. In any case, the first year there were significant numbers of unmatched CC4s was 2012 - before anyone at the NB campus had even started clerkship. 

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sorry I don't mean to be harsh but this is from personal experience and disproving the false information that was stated earlier on.

So, in order to mitigate the false information that was mentioned about your home program, you, in turn, said false information about another program? Not really sure where you're going with this.

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I'm not creating false information, this is what people have told me about both schools. As for the fellow comment, the benefit of having few to none fellows means you are first assist in the or as a clerk. Also you do not have to do surgery rural , St. John's surgery is also a very busy service.

The match rates, this year 4 out of the 30 Saint John dal schools did not match compare that with the 1 of 69 at memorial.

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I'm not creating false information, this is what people have told me about both schools. As for the fellow comment, the benefit of having few to none fellows means you are first assist in the or as a clerk. Also you do not have to do surgery rural , St. John's surgery is also a very busy service.

I can't think of a single time as a Dal clerk where there was ever a fellow in the OR. And at HSC or St Clare's there's usually going to be a resident as first assist. I think you're overstating the difference.

 

Surgery E in particular was 6-6 everyday and I usually saw 3-4 consults everyday when not in the OR. The volume is higher in Halifax. Please do not argue this point if you don't have first hand experience.

 

The match rates, this year 4 out of the 30 Saint John dal schools did not match compare that with the 1 of 69 at memorial.

Year-to-year numbers aren't very meaningful. And I wonder how MUN will do once the expanded classes enter CaRMS.

 

Anyway MUN is a good school that will prepare you well. So is Dal. There are potential downsides to the NB campus in my mind, but not as far as education goes. We have some pretty strong residents who went there.

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As a further point, CaRMS results have very little to do with the schools themselves and far more to do with the individuals involved. People make poor choices (geographic restriction, unrealistic backups or lack thereof) sometimes and some are just unlucky. So it goes with some competitive specialties, and it seems to be happening more and more. 

 

As someone who did clerkship rotations both throughout Nova Scotia and in Saint John, I can speak to the experience fairly well. Similarly, I've worked with dozens of MUN students and feel comfortable commenting on their comparable competence and experience. I do think - on medicine anyway - that Dal can "baby" their clerks, particularly on MTU in Halifax. But that also holds for the R1s on MTU. There is probably a much bigger jump in responsibility between a CC4 and an R1 at MUN - particularly on things like medicine or cardiology - but the whole idea of clerks functioning like R1s is fanciful (anywhere). 

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