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News Release - The evolution of medical education

Friday, June 30, 2017

KINGSTON - Queen’s University is the first medical school in North America to make the transition to competency-based medical education (CBME) in all 29 of its specialty programs for medical residents.

Under the CBME model, this year’s cohort of approximately 130 residents will be promoted to their next rotation in a Kingston hospital once they have demonstrated competency in the clinical tasks and activities expected of them at each stage. Previously, residents moved on once they had completed a certain amount of time in a set rotation.

For the residents, this new model promises a rewarding learning experience, as they will receive more timely feedback and mentorship from their faculty supervisors and academic advisors. This will help the residents identify their strengths and weaknesses at every stage. They will also have increased opportunities to pursue personal learning goals and desired areas of excellence.

“At Queen’s, we are constantly striving to provide our students with the best possible education and so we have made it a fundamental component of our strategy to develop and trial new models of training,” says Dr. Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s. “As such, we are very excited by the value of a system of competency-based education and are thrilled to take a national lead by transitioning all of our specialty medicine residency training programs at once; doing it this way gives us the ability to capture the hearts and minds of the entire medical school, and I am very proud of what our team has achieved to get us to this point.”

The transition, which begins July 1, caps over two years of preparatory work, and was led by an executive team of eight faculty and staff members in the School of Medicine. The model was created in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The College had asked all Canadian medical schools to transition their specialty residency training programs to the new CBME model by 2022. In response, working alongside the College, Queen’s opted to transition all 29 residency programs at once. There will continue to be tweaks and improvements to the CBME model in the future – as an example, other hospital health care professionals will be able to share their feedback with every resident and their supervisors as part of CBME. The Faculty of Health Sciences also aims to allow patients and families to contribute to the educational process in the future.

“All the evidence points to using a competency-based approach as the fundamental and logical next step in medical education,” says Dr. Damon Dagnone, CBME Lead at Queen’s University. “Along the way, we will continuously study these changes, engage all stakeholders – including patients and families – and embrace co-production and a shared leadership model, use a systems-based approach, and commit to regular and gradual quality improvement. We’ve come so far in just two years, but this is really just the beginning.”

The move to fully implement CBME at Queen’s has already attracted attention around the globe. Both Drs. Reznick and Dagnone have presented recently at multiple conferences, speaking of the mission at Queen’s to develop and test new models of training and to work closely with our educational partners.

“On behalf of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, congratulations to Queen’s University on their successful deployment of competency-based medical education,” says Dr. Ken Harris, executive director, Office of Specialty Education, RCPSC. “We believe CBME is the future of medical education. This outcomes-based approach incorporates more feedback and ongoing observation of how knowledge is being applied, and will contribute to a practice environment where learning itself is integrated in the day-to-day.”

To learn more about CBME at Queen’s, please click here. You may also visit the Royal College’s “Competence by Design” project website here.

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Anne Craig, Media Relations Officer

613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca