A program within the School of Medicine has saved itself.
After facing the possibility of losing accreditation, the School of Medicine’s internal medicine residency program was given a two-year timeline to improve.
It received an ‘intent to withdraw’ status from its accrediting bodies in 2005.
If the program had still been found lacking, it would have closed and enrolled residents would have been forced to go.
According to the Associate Dean of Post-graduate Medical Education Dr. Ross Walker, this residency program is now one of 27 that will be recommended for full approval this year — the highest rank given by the accreditation bodies.
The recommendations follow a survey earlier this month by members of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
“This shows you the power of accreditation. It can turn things around,” Walker said.
The accreditation and certification bodies determine which Canadian medical programs meet their standards. Their reviews are conducted every six years and published online for prospective residents to look at.
“What [the new review] says is that you’re going to get great training if you come to Kingston,” Walker said. “That’s very helpful for our programs when it comes to filling it with the best possible residents.”
Though the accreditation won’t be finalized until January, Walker said the recommendations are unlikely to change.
Programs are ranked on a three-step basis. Two of Queen’s 29 residency programs were recommended for provisional approval, which calls for the University to bring a program up to standard, before it can recieve full approval.
Walker said one of the programs that didn’t meet all accreditation standards was the public health and preventive medicine residency program — a program that includes working in public health units.
“It’s not looking after a patient, it’s public safety issues,” he said. “They were really struggling to understand and meet the accreditation standards, they’re making great strides.”
The physical medicine and rehabilitation program also received provisional approval. Walker said this was because it’s a less popular program that faced some issues with residents in the past, and the program became inactive for a while.
“It was such a disruptive time,” Walker said. He said the program was run out of St. Mary’s of the Lake hospital and issues with a former Queen’s resident caused staff at the hospital to remove their residence program temporarily.
The program has since been reinstated.
Regardless of the two provisional outcomes, this year’s results are unusually positive, Walker said. “For our centre to have a 93 per cent recommendation for approval is quite outstanding,” he said.
Most schools, Walker said, would expect to have between 85 and 90 per cent of their programs fully approved.
“The comments from the reviewers would suggest that we have some very innovative programs which really make us stand out,” he said. “With the new medical school and a new dean [Dr. Richard Reznick,] things seem to be happening. It just seems to be the right time.”
The review process requires each resident and faculty member to be interviewed by a member of the accreditation body. Questions involved include ones about the curriculum, feedback given by instructors and resident participation.
Similar reviews are also conducted on Queen’s undergraduate medical school. The next review will occur in the spring.
Because of the large amount of resident involvement in the accreditation process, student opinion factors high into the final outcome of the review, Walker said. “The residents know that it’s a time to be honest,” he said. “If the residents are not happy, you have a problem.”
– With files from Katherine Fernandez-Blance
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