Training Physicians in the North, for the North
Northern and rural areas often face a critical shortage of physicians and healthcare professionals and the Northern Medical Program (NMP) was been created in response to that critical need. The NMP is part of UBC's Faculty of Medicine - providing the UBC curriculum in a northern and rural context.
The current model of curriculum delivery is following, however UBC's Faculty of Medicine is currently engaged in a curriculum renewal process, with some pilot projects starting in the Fall of 2012. Although an exact, detailed curriculum is not yet know, committees and working groups are focusing on the following principles of curriculum renewal, which include:
Full updates are available on the UBC Curriculum Renewal website: http://cr.med.ubc.ca
Current Model of Curriculum Delivery:
The Northern Medical Program delivers the University of British Columbia's (UBC) medical curriculum over a four-year period at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) and the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC). It incorporates the best practices of rural and remote medical education from around the world, providing outstanding classroom and early clinical exposure to rural healthcare delivery.
Students spend the first semester (August to December) at UBC in Vancouver and then move to the Northern Medical Program in Prince George for the remainder of their education. The first and second years are based primarily at the Dr Donald Rix Northern Health Sciences Centre at UNBC with experiences in family practice offices and in clinical skills education at UHNBC. Core clinical training (known as clerkships) takes place during third year with the support of physicians who combine patient care with teaching. There are two models of clerkships, one which includes rotating through ten major disciplines (ie OBGYN, Internal Medicine, Psychiatry etc) and the other Integrated Clerkships, which allow students to follow patients throughout their care and involves whatever discipline(s) the patients require. Most third year clerkship rotations take place at UHNBC and as September 2008 eight NMP students per year participate in an integrated clerkship program in Terrace or Fort St John, BC. Development for further integrated clerkships is currently underway in the northeast (Fort St John & Dawson Creek). During fourth year, students have elective opportunities throughout BC, Canada and beyond and participate in the Canadian Resident's Matching Service (CaRMs) match.
To see the graphical curriculum model of the Northern Medical Program, click here.
The NMP utilizes state-of-the-art teleconferencing to broadcast and receive lectures from medical professionals throughout BC. Faculty and students have access to the newest equipment and laboratories through UNBC's new $12 Million Northern Health Sciences Centre and the new $50 Million expansion at UHNBC.
The First Year & Second Years (Foundations of Medicine)
The first two years are about teaching students the basic sciences. These years are an intensive academic study of biological and behavioural sciences. An instructional method called "Problem Based Learning" is used to engage students to think critically and analytically.
Working with clinical material from the first day, students will work in groups to seek solutions to real life medical problems through case studies and simulations. The curriculum will encourage skill development in clinical reasoning and will help students to interact with patients and healthcare professionals. The curriculum also includes clinical skills teaching and a course called "Doctor Patient and Society", which examines the broader issues of medicine. Students will also continue working in a family physician's medical office, gaining professional skills in adaptability, problem solving and clinical communication. Students will also have a number of lectures and labs during this time. Courses during this time will cover:
- Principles of Human Biology
- Renal Genitourinary
- Blood Lymphatics
- Endocrine Metabolism
- Brain Behaviour
- Growth Development
The final two years, the Clerkship years are purely clinical. They start with a four-week summer practicum working with a physician in a rural or remote community throughout BC and the Yukon. Students gain experience in the varied medical situations found in small communities and will learn to care for patients, following them through any medical procedures they may require. Students will then begin rotations in the ten clerkship areas that spans across a 48 week timeframe:
- Internal Medicine
- Obstetrics & Gynecology
- Emergency Medicine
Some students will participate in integrated clerkships. In these the same disciplines will be covered as in rotating clerkships, but they will be in a an integrated way in a smaller community setting. This means students will deal with patients irrespective of the discipline and in a single day could see, for example, patients with surgical problems, some with internal medicine complaints as well as being involved with obstetrics. The integrated clerkship pilot started in Terrace in September 2008 and Ft St John in 2009. Students spend the whole of third year in an integrated clerkship site. Approximately one quarter of the NMP clerkship placements will be integrated clerkships.
The Fourth Year
The final year before graduation is an advanced clerkship made up of a series of electives courses where students choose to study in their intended area of discipline. Students are expected to take on an increased level of responsibility for patient care. The fourth year provides further experiences required for medical practice covering themes:
- Pharmacology & Therapeutics
- Healthcare & Epidemiology
- Healthcare Policy
- Medical Ethics & Law
- Advanced Communication Skills
- Palliative Care
After graduation, students proceed to Residency training following the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMs) match.
For further information visit www.carms.ca.