Postgraduate program moves forward despite pandemic

Guest blog by Dr. Anurag Saxena, associate dean, Postgraduate Medical Education

In this follow-up to my December 2021 guest blog, I want to highlight the important work the Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) office continued despite the many pandemic challenges also being managed. This includes our ongoing work to implement Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME), accreditation of all programs and the central PGME office, and the newly developed PGME strategic plan.

I’ll start with this great news: all our residency programs are accredited, with the next follow-up by regular review in November 2023. Currently we are engaged in internal reviews of all our programs, started in fall 2021 and continuing through spring 2022. This includes a review of the PGME office. Thank you to all our reviewers and the internal review team leads in engaging in this exercise, which is extremely important for continuous quality improvement of residency education.

Of course, identifying and addressing areas for improvement is an integral part of this work, but the primary intent remains striving for excellence. Upon completion of these internal reviews, the second phase will begin, to address areas for improvement and enhance the quality of our programs, both individually and collectively, under the leadership of the academic programs enhancement committee. We will be sharing the common themes and the emerging, leading and best practices identified in each program with all programs, so that we can learn from each other.
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The CAnERA accreditation standards can be found here: General Standards of Accreditation for Residency Programs and General Standards of Accreditation for Institutions with Residency Programs.

 CBME is now the norm in our programs, either formally in Family Medicine and most Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) specialty programs or by incorporating its principles in the remaining handful of our programs where it hasn’t yet been formally adopted. It will be launched in Diagnostic Radiology in July 2022. We continue our work in transitioning to Elentra as the electronic platform for housing resident information and as an initial step for ultimate integration of curriculum and program administration on one platform. This transition exemplifies true collaboration between Elentra, our CoM and USask information technology professionals, CBD leadership and programs. We are continuing the work in ensuring implementation fidelity and evaluation of CBD components and outcomes.

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We undertook the PGME’s new strategic plan development this year. This process involved extensive stakeholder consultation through surveys and focus groups. This work commenced with assessing the current state (i.e., progress on the previous strategic plan, PGME’s key contributions to the CoM and SHA strategic directions, SWOT analysis), updating existing priorities and drafting new ones, validating and refining the strategic priorities, and highlighting areas of alignment and potential collaboration. We look forward to building on these conversations and emerging partnerships as we move this important work forward.

I would like to thank all of the residents, faculty, staff and leaders and the working group members who informed and developed the plan. A very special thank you to Catherine Delaney, CoM project manager, for her highly effective facilitation of this strategic planning process. The final version of the plan, approved by the PGME planning committee, includes an updated vision, mission and set of strategic priorities and affirms our alignment with the CoM values and principles. The key strategic directions are shown below, and more plan details can be found on our website.

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That we have been able to complete all these important areas of work while navigating the many challenges of the pandemic speaks to the many great people involved directly and in supporting roles in medical residency in Saskatchewan. Thank you to all our residents, program directors, program administrators, administrative team staff, department heads, senior academic and administrative leaders and of course, the PGME unit staff. It indeed takes a village to offer residency education. It is a privilege to work with all of you.