The CaRMS journey has begun for 2019

It is that time of year again: our fourth-year medical students have embarked on their Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) interview journey. For many, it literally is a journey. Some students started last Monday at Memorial University in Newfoundland and are working their way west, interviewing as they go. Many students have scheduled in excess of 10 interviews!

Last week and this week are designated for interviews across Canada. I think deans, UGME leaders, parents and partners of these students from programs across the country are collectively holding our breath, hoping travels will be safe and interviews successful. It is an arduous process and for our students a source of great personal stress.

Recently, Dr. Kent Stobart (Vice-Dean Education) and I had our regular meeting with the Student Medical Society of Saskatchewan. What a great group of student leaders we have here at the CoM! Thank you for the great work you do on behalf of your peers and our college.

Early in 2019, Dr. Stobart and I also hosted breakfasts with our medical students in both Saskatoon and Regina; I asked each fourth-year student about his or her plans for residency education and if each felt well prepared for career selection and the CaRMS process. I must say I was gratified to hear they all felt well prepared by our Career Advising program. This is a multi-faceted program focused on preparing students to pick the best specialty for themselves. It starts at the beginning of first-year medical education and extends right through to mock interviews (these were going on until the weekend before last, here!) for students finishing the MD program who are heading into their CaRMS interviews. Another interesting observation from these breakfast conversations came from some students who commented that while doing electives away, they felt their medical education compared well to that at other schools. While subjective self-comparison and small numbers may not be good science on its own, hearing this felt good anyway!

Our Career Advising program offers great resources through our Career Advising Guide and website.  I would like to acknowledge the great work done by UGME leadership and staff, and the many on our faculty who advise, mentor, provide feedback and do mock interviews for our students, as they prepare for CaRMS. In particular, I thank Stephanie Marshall, our Career Advising & Mentoring coordinator, for her great work in providing this important program to our students.

Of course, this is also a really busy time for our PGME office, especially our residency programs, as they do the interviews and embark on file review and selection of new first-year residents for their programs. I chaired the resident selection committee at Dalhousie family medicine for several years, so I know all too well how much is involved. Thanks and kudos to all the staff and faculty who do this essential work.

Career advising and resident selection are among the really important things we do for our students, our residency programs and our province. It is essential for the public we serve that our healthcare system has the right mix of family doctors, specialists and sub-specialists. I know I am joined by many in extending good wishes that our students pursuing residency positions find themselves in a field of medicine that gives them great career satisfaction. Ultimately, the people of Saskatchewan are the beneficiaries of this important work.

As always, I welcome your comments.

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