The CMPA’s resident symposium helps early-career physicians implement good practices, promote safe care

Published September 2019

When the CMPA launched its symposium for residents at the University of Toronto in 2017, a new chapter began in the Association’s multi-faceted efforts to improve safety in healthcare delivery. Recognizing the unique requirements of residents, the CMPA embraced a tailored approach in its practice improvement education, aimed at fostering good practices among a new generation of Canadian physicians.

In 2018, approximately 1,300 resident physicians at six schools attended the resident symposia, and their outstanding reviews of the full-day event gives the CMPA strong indications this nation-wide training program is adding significant value. Attendees have indicated a significant increase in their knowledge of the subjects covered in the symposium workshops, with nearly all attendees expressing intention to make improvements in their practices as a result. As the CMPA continues to expand the program, the symposium is being provided at 11 medical schools this year, and in 2020 it will be available at all 17 Canadian medical schools.

More than 12,000 resident physicians are practising in Canada, and our data shows that this cohort experiences unique medical-legal challenges. If left unaddressed, these challenges can negatively affect the safety of care and lead to medical-legal difficulties for residents. The resident symposium offers guidance directly from Canada’s largest physician organization on topics that are essential in delivering safe medical care and reducing medical-legal risk: informed consent, documentation, disclosure of harm, teamwork, and delegation.

Photo of Dr. Victor Huckell

Dr. Victor Huckell
Vancouver, B.C.

Photo of Dr. Jennifer Gillis-Doyle

Dr. Jennifer Gillis-Doyle
Fredericton, N.B.

Created with input from Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC), the symposium content is based on CMPA medical-legal risk data and is mapped to the CanMEDS 2015 and CanMEDS-FM competencies. The interactive nature of the learning includes opportunities to practise key skills and offers takeaways that residents can implement right away.

CMPA Council member Dr. Victor Huckell, a cardiologist in Vancouver, is a keen proponent of advancing physicians’ knowledge base. Through his experiences over the years he observes that, “Many physicians see the CMPA as the organization they contact only when they’re going through a medical-legal difficulty.” Dr. Huckell continues, “The CMPA’s resident symposium shows how we can help early-career physicians prevent patient safety incidents, and potential subsequent complaints or legal actions, in the first place. The key is to integrate the safe medical care concepts we teach with practical guidance that can shape residents’ practices for the better now, rather than after an unanticipated outcome.”

Meanwhile Dr. Jennifer Gillis-Doyle, a palliative medicine physician in Fredericton, and a CMPA Council member, sees the resident symposium as a logical extension to every new physician’s knowledge base. “The enthusiastic responses the CMPA has received following each symposium have been truly exceptional,” says Dr. Gillis-Doyle. “The participants obviously appreciate how this program puts the needs and voice of residents at the forefront, giving them the opportunity to look beyond the day-to-day clinical challenges they already face and gain a broader view of what it means to practise medicine. Their newly acquired knowledge will surely stand the test of time.”

The CMPA will build on the success of the symposium program as we continue to develop new and innovative educational products that respond to the evolving needs of specific segments of physicians as well as our membership as a whole.

Learn how CMPA is empowering better healthcare