The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Med school weaknesses defined

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The CACMS/LCME outlined the College of Medicine’s shortcomings in a letter to acting dean Lou Qualtier on Oct. 18.
The CACMS/LCME outlined the College of Medicine’s shortcomings in a letter to acting dean Lou Qualtier on Oct. 18.

The areas of weakness that led to the College of Medicine being put on probation have been made public.

Lou Qualtier, acting dean of the college, received a letter from the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (CACMS/LCME) on Oct. 16 detailing the college’s shortcomings.

The letter sent to Qualtier outlines the areas of non-compliance as well as recognizes how the college plans to address them immediately.

Areas of non-compliance include issues with understanding authority and responsibility within the college, inadequate supervision of students while on clinical rotations and objectives being unclear to residents, faculty and students.

The accrediting bodies noted that the distribution of authority and responsibility within the College of Medicine is not well understood.

The college is currently under the governance of an acting dean and the academic leadership structure puts a large amount of responsibility on a few individuals.

Although the college has a restructuring plan that includes the creation of three vice-deans positions, the current situation was found lacking these figures as well as department chairs and leaders of other organizational units and staff.

These leadership roles are necessary for the College of Medicine to accomplish its goals. It is unknown how or if the restructuring plan will impact the college’s ability to fulfill its mission.

The CACMS/LCME noted that the College of Medicine failed to meet the requirement of having a system to monitor and help faculty members define the different kinds of patients and clinical experiences that students encounter. Faculty are responsible for monitoring and modifying students’ experiences to ensure that all objectives of the program are met.

The college has a list of rotations that includes clinical encounters and procedures. However, the level of student responsibility and nature of the clinical experience are not fully described. Many of the student responsibility levels in clinical rotations were noted as “observe” — the lowest level.

The objectives of the medical students’ education and assessments are not made clear to students, faculty, residents and other individuals who are directly responsible for the facility’s educational benefits. Communication with many clinical disciplines is inconsistent and it is unclear whether all faculty members with teaching roles are aware of their objectives within the college.

Residents who supervise or teach students — medical undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows — in the biomedical sciences were noted as being unfamiliar with educational objectives of the course or rotation. The CACMS/LCME also observed that these residents were not prepared for their teaching and assessment duties. All residents must participate in Teaching Improvement Project System training before completion of their residency. However, many residents do not complete their training until “well into their first year of post-graduate training.”

Students expressed concern that there was inadequate supervision by family physicians while they were in their obstetrics and gynecology rotations in Saskatoon. Students in clinical learning situations must be supervised at all times. Lack of supervision jeopardizes student and patient safety as well as examinations of student progress.

Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor

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