Sarah Tulk is a family physician in Hamilton, Ontario
Despite earnestly advocating for physician mental health, my own story has remained cloaked in secrecy. As a medical student, I felt far too junior to risk such a revelation. I watched as stigma, perpetuated by the hidden curriculum, kept my peers from seeking mental health care. Still, I kept my head tucked safely in the sand, and swore to break my silence in residency. However, as a resident the fear of jeopardizing job prospects maintained my mutism. I vowed to speak up when I was staff. Unfortunately, early in my staff career my advocacy efforts were smothered by fierce judgment and harsh consequences. I wholeheartedly renewed my vows with the ostrich approach and reconciled to start talking about mental health when I was protected by more seniority. I hated the secrecy and hypocrisy, but at least I was safe. Then I heard of another resident suicide. Then a medical student. Another resident. A staff physician. ...continue reading →
June Duong is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Queen's University
Author’s note: This is a satire inspired by #tampongate on Twitter, which occurred on October 27, 2018 in response to policies regarding the use of menstrual hygiene products during the MCCQEII. All characters in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Dr. John Doe woke up on Saturday morning and cooked himself a large breakfast. It was doomsday, for he would be doing his exam this weekend. He was going to be out all day. He did not know whether he would be doing the exam in the morning or in the afternoon — not that it mattered in the end, since he would be sequestered for the rest of the time anyway. As far as the instructions he’s been provided with, all they said was, “Do not bring food. A light snack will be provided depending on your examination schedule.” Dr. Doe, with his three degrees, translated this statement into a big, fat maybe. You may get food so that you can focus on your exam, or you may have an empty stomach gnawing away at itself. ...continue reading →
Jessica Dunkley is a PGY-4 in dermatology at UBC. She completed her family medicine residency at the University of Alberta
Every year, Match Day for CaRMS brings back heart wrenching memories for me. It is a terrifying day for medical students who do not match to residency. For many years medical students have placed all of their eggs in one basket - to get that one spot in residency. Their entire lives of dreaming to become a doctor depend on that day. I matched to a competitive specialty only to be told that my disability – hearing loss - would not be supported in residency because it was different from medical school. ...continue reading →
For Canadian resident doctors, July 1st is more than a national holiday; it represents the day when newly-minted doctors become responsible for decisions in patient care. While this is an exciting day, it can also be fraught with anxiety and stress. Over the course of residency, acute work-related stressors, including traumas and patient deaths, can negatively impact residents’ wellbeing. Additionally, residents endure chronic stressors such as large debts, extended work hours, and isolation from family. These factors predispose residents to burnout. The prevalence of burnout among resident doctors is up to a staggering 75%. Resiliency interventions have been shown to work, and the time to begin implementing them nationwide is now. ...continue reading →