Message from the Chair: PGME Training: COVID-19

Posted on Monday, June 15, 2020

Hello Everyone:
I hope you and your family and friends remain well.  I also hope you are doing well in your work, despite all the COVID-19-related changes to our jobs. This message is about the changes and updates in PGME, particularly as they relate to COVID-19.  Drs. Jeanne Talbot and Kelly Mascioli have put together this communication.

Resident leadership and initiative and the responsiveness and resourcefulness of our site education directors have been key to our success in adapting to an ever-changing pandemic landscape. Debbie Hall and Elli Jackson have been steadfast in their support during this crisis. The impact of, and adaptations to, the pandemic are below:

  • After years of preparation and anxious anticipation on the part of our PGY5s, the Royal College has cancelled the requirement for the OSCE component of the specialty exam this year. A written exam will be scheduled for the fall 2020. The CPSO will issue provisional licences for our graduates, which will come into effect on July 1.
  • Wednesday teaching was put on hold when distance restrictions began. Residents were given Wednesday morning for selfcare before presenting for clinical duties in the afternoon.
  • A pandemic response working group was struck and these residents ensured a solid early response to the crisis.
  • From the get-go, many residents cancelled their holidays in order to help out.
  • Our PGY5 residents and other residents doing electives or non-clinical electives rallied and have been providing support to essential psychiatric services since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • A pandemic initiative is a Balint group led by Dr. A. Hennesey and Dr. J. Evans which began four weeks ago. In addition to providing support for our residents during this challenging time, it is modelling a form of cost-effective service delivery that will be in demand as the toll of the pandemic on mental health further reveals itself.
  • Residents have been encouraged to initiate or join research ideas being projects stimulated by questions raised or observations during the pandemic. Some residents have joined a department working group for pandemic-related research led by Dr. Hatcher.
  • The E-learning site of the Department of Psychiatry website has been reactivated and uOttawa with the help of Dr S. Bismil at NOSM. This E-learning site is being developed in collaboration with NOSM.  
  • The global pandemic has been an unexpected push towards modernity.  As of May 6th, teaching on Wednesday afternoons will resume – virtually. There is much to learn about virtual teaching and feedback about virtual teaching will be collected from lecturers and residents.
  • At a national level, universities have been instructed to conduct CaRMS interviews virtually. To maintain a level competitive field for all, electives and references from elective supervisors will not be taken into consideration when selecting candidates.
  • Pandemic or not, the Royal College will launch CBD in psychiatry on July 1, 2020. Appreciating the varying degrees of readiness in programs across the country, they will accept a “soft” launch.  A soft, stress free launch it will be. The initial focus and training will be on the first two stages of CBD training: 1) Transition to Discipline and 2) Foundations
  • The 13 PGY1 residents who join our program in July 1s will receive a solid orientation about CBD and Elentra, the platform that will be used for evaluations. This training will ensure that they can guide supervisors through the necessary steps to complete an evaluation.
  • The PGY1s will spend 2 blocks in inpatient psychiatry and PES/CL – this is known as the Transition to Discipline phase. The first half of their Foundation stage of training will be done in off-service and other psychiatry rotations.
  • Weekly “lunch and learn” Elentra sessions will be offered virtually at all teaching hospitals in June for supervisors.
  • Our current residents will also have training on Elentra so that they too can evaluate the CBD cohort.
  • A CBD-related topic will be presented at grand rounds once in the fall once they resume.
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