Dr. Carine Haggar
If you strive for excellence, aspire to become a leader in the field, and are looking for the best training in emergency medicine, all while living in a fantastic cosmopolitan city, then McGill’s FRCP Emergency Medicine is the place for you! Although there are many excellent EM programs across the country, none are quite like McGill. We think McGill EM is undisputedly one of the top programs in North America. Our standards of excellence and reputation are well renowned and are portable anywhere in the world. While it is impossible to enumerate all the strengths of such a program, we have prepared a list that will help you understand why McGill should be your number one choice.
McGill is home to one of the largest, most comprehensive medical simulation centers in Canada. With dedicated staff, patient actors, conference rooms, procedure rooms, and high fidelity simulation rooms, the possibilities for learning are virtually endless.
We practice procedures such as cricothyroidotomies, intubations, bronchoscopies, chest tube insertions, ultrasound-guided central lines, and pericardiocentesis, all under the direct guidance of experts in the field.
Residents design and participate in scenarios that have been developed specifically to focus on skills that are rare or difficult to practice in the clinical setting, but are essential in critical circumstances. This allows our residents to develop confidence and integrate knowledge with technical proficiency when faced with the real world situations.
You will have the chance to develop your own simulation during your senior years. Examples of previous Sim Days include:
McGill has a dedicated emergency ultrasound rotation that combines didactic and practical ultrasound training with emergency ultrasound independent practitioners (CEUS-IP). By the end of the rotation, you will be a certified CEUS-IP. The EDE 1 course runs in your 2nd year, and allows you to be proficient in using bedside ultrasound to rule out pericardial effusions, intra-abdominal fluid, aortic aneurysm, and rule in intrauterine pregnancy.
But it does not stop there. McGill is now one of the sites of the EDE 2 course, as well as a new fellowship in Ultrasound. The possibilities for those who want to expand the use of ultrasound in their practice are limitless. Our physicians routinely use bedside ultrasound to assess cardiac function, volume status, diagnose pneumothorax, pulmonary edema, DVT’s, retinal detachments, as well as perform several ultrasound guided procedures such as peripheral lines, joint taps, nerve blocks, thoracentesis, and fracture reductions.
McGill fosters an environment of academic distinction and encourages residents to push the limits of clinical knowledge in research and evidence based medicine progressively throughout the five years of residency.
In the first year, junior residents attend a clinical epidemiology course to learn the fundamentals. A combined ED/Journal Club month follows, where they apply the knowledge to critically appraise a peer-reviewed journal article and submit it for publication. This is in addition to the monthly Journal Club that is held in conjunction with the CCFP-EM residents, which focuses on cutting edge articles and core EBM topics.
Furthermore, all residents conduct a research project during residency that is guided by research preceptors and the Emergency Medicine Residency Research Committee. Five months are allocated throughout the program for work on protocol development, ethics and grant applications, data analysis, and finally manuscript completion with the goal of presenting an abstract or poster at a major conference and submitting for publication to a peer reviewed journal.
Residents are also strongly encouraged to attend the major conferences (SAEM, CAEP, ACEP, AMUQ, etc.) and special additional funding and support is provided for residents who present their research.
The quality of our rounds continues to excel as we are able to attract many nationally and internationally renowned speakers. This coupled with the fact that our teaching time is protected (no matter what service you are on) ensures that your knowledge base will expand every week. We also make our Rounds presentations available through Google drive and iTunesU.
We have monthly interactive sessions where we meet with staff to discuss pre-assigned chapters from Tintinalli (junior residents) and Rosen’s (senior residents). By the end of your fourth year you will have read both texts from cover to cover.
CTU is an innovative clinical rotation for senior residents to develop their skill and confidence as a clinical teacher. The resident-teacher will apply principles of learner-centered instruction and techniques for teaching in a busy clinical environment while supervising junior trainees. Through group learning activities, practical experience, and self-reflection, the resident-teacher will acquire skills in interactive small group lecturing, focused instruction during case reviews, effective bedside teaching, the teaching of procedures, and giving constructive feedback.
Residents interested in health education also have the opportunity to advance their knowledge and skillset through various programs offered in conjunction with the faculties of Medicine and Education (Teachers Scholars Program, McGill Postgraduate fellowship in health Sciences Education, and a Masters in Education).
Our program offers a choice of 2 months of trauma training at either Groote Schuur in Cape Town, South Africa or other approved international opportunities. Few programs provide residents the opportunity to travel and at the same time pick up skills that will prepare them for any trauma situation no matter how complex or unstable.
Toxicology is one of the more challenging fields in emergency medicine, and a field that truly belongs to emergentologists. Once again our program prepares you well. As a junior, you will develop a comprehensive knowledge base of Toxicology with our own dedicated rotation with Montreal’s toxicologists. Then, as a senior resident, you will travel to the Poison Control Center at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, one of the best in the world. After that, you will no doubt feel comfortable managing the most complex toxicology cases!
ResusHour is a recent addition to the McGill Emergency Medicine Simulation Curriculum. Two concise sim sessions are held each month, one for juniors, one for seniors. ResusHour puts residents as team leaders in simulated cases, providing opportunities to apply our didactic learning in real-time settings. These sessions allows us to evaluate, manage and treat critical situations without risk to patients. Moreover, ResusHour develops our leadership and communication skills in ways that book-leaning cannot. Structured debriefing with staff closes the loop, and helps us review our strengths and weaknesses each time.
McGill EM also is very active in Simulation competitions, winning the CAEP simulation contest in 2012.
From the Grand Prix to the Jazz Festival to Just for Laughs, Montreal is a city that has multiple mass gathering events throughout the year. Our new Mass Gathering and Disaster Medicine elective is a truly unique experience for anyone interested in pre-hospital medicine. Residents actively participate in hospital-based disaster and mass gathering event planning, and are also acting as physicians on-site for various events such as the Bal en Blanc, Mont-Tremblant IronMan, Montreal Marathon, and Formula One Grand Prix.
All the residents agree that one of the greatest strengths of McGill Emergency Medicine is that it is resident centered. The administration is always looking for residents’ opinions on how to improve the program. The structure of the program is constantly evolving and being tailored to fit educational requirements on a regular basis.
One of the best examples of our flexible and resident-oriented curriculum is the MSK rotation. This rotation, which is uniquely based in the Emergency Department and Orthopedic Clinic settings, provides an opportunity for residents to assess and treat acute fractures in the ED alongside the orthopedics team, but without the added burden of surgical ward responsibilities. As far as we know, this is the only rotation of its kind in Canada.
In your senior years, you have the ability to develop a niche in Emergency Medicine in your area of interest. Six months of your senior years are allocated for you to pursue an area of interest of your choice. If desired, these can be combined with elective time and dedicated towards a year of fellowship training. Areas of interest and fellowships for previous residents have included: international health, pediatrics, wilderness medicine, aviation medicine, critical care, trauma, disaster management, EMS, toxicology, sports medicine, ultrasound, simulation medicine, and education.
We are privileged to work in three brand new emergency departments- the Royal Victoria Emergency Department and Montreal Children’s Emergency Department at the Glen Hospital and the Jewish General Hospital Emergency Department. These emergency departments have state of the art equipment and resources, and are transitioning towards a paperless, high tech environment.
One of our greatest strengths which the residents all cherish is the very relaxed and collegial relationship with the staff. You will quickly become one of the family. This will allow you to relax and focus on maximizing your learning experience. It also makes going to work that much more fun! Throughout the year, several social activities are organized; these include our annual beginning-of-year BBQ at our program director’s place, a famous end-of-year party, evening journal clubs, and an annual weekend retreat in the Laurentians with the goals of performing an overall program review, team building, and resident wellbeing.
Last but not least, Montreal itself. Montreal is a truly amazing city. Although residency is tough and demanding, one key to success is living in a city where there is ample opportunity to unwind. There is no other city in the world with the number of distractions that Montreal has. Whether you are interested in art, music, theatre, history, science, sports, outdoor activities, festivals, or nightlife, Montreal has something for everyone.