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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 368-378

Implementing the CanMEDS™ Physician Roles in Rural Specialist Education: The Multi-Specialty Community Training Network

1 Rural and Regional Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario, Canada
2 Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Canada

Correspondence Address:
James Rourke
Dean of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Health Sciences Centre, St. Johnís, NL, A1B 3V6
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

Context: Changing medical education to realign it with societal needs has become a renewed priority in many countries. Advanced training in rural settings to prepare physicians to better serve rural areas has received particular attention around the world. Such initiatives are usually targeted at primary care practitioners. Few initiatives have been designed to enhance specialist training in a rural setting, let alone adapt specialist competency frameworks such as the CanMEDS™ roles of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to non-urban medical education. Issue: We describe an innovation in medical training for rural competence for specialist physicians using the CanMEDS framework near London, Ontario, Canada. Since 1997, the University of Western Ontario has established its Multi-Specialty Community Training Network (MSCTN) to provide rural and regional training opportunities for specialty residents in anaesthesia, general surgery, internal medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics and psychiatry. It became the first program in Canada to fully adapt the new CanMEDS roles into learning objectives and evaluations. Lessons learned: Competency-based frameworks like CanMEDS are important because they provide a comprehensive tool to organize outcome-based curricula. The CanMEDS roles framework has been very useful in developing educational goals for rural/regional specialty resident rotations as well as forming a constructive basis for resident, preceptor, and program evaluations. Our experiences with this program may provide lessons for others planning training for specialists in rural settings, and those adopting the CanMEDS competency framework.

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