Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario has implemented a new model in residency education known as the Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME) framework. Queen’s paves the way for the future of medical education in Canada and internationally by being the first academic institution in North America to implement the CBME model.
What is competency-based medical education?
Generally, residency education is based on a time-based learning model. The time-based model equates a medical professional’s competence level with the number of training years.
In their effort to revolutionize training methods in the field of medicine, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada advocates for a CBME approach to curriculum planning, wherein residents who prove their competence by mastering all the tasks could move to subsequent phases of their residency training regardless of the timeframe.
The rationale behind a CBME model in medical education is:
- Focus on curricular outcomes;
- Emphasis on abilities as the basis for organizing and designing curricula;
- Redirect emphasis of time-based training and
- Promotion of learner-centeredness in medical education.
Future of medical education
A CBME model forgoes the assumption that a learner is competent after a preset number of training hours. Instead, the learner’s experience becomes more individualized as the process involves more regular learning assessments throughout the training period.
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada introduced the Competency by Design (CBD) initiative, of which the CBME is a part, to transform the approach to post-graduate medical specialties across Canada as a set towards an improvement to the quality of learning in medical schools.
Despite criticism by some medical professionals and academics on the design and feasibility of CBME, the decision by Queen’s University to partner with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons demonstrates increased opportunities and options for Canadian and international medical students in the Canada.
As quoted on Queen’s Gazette, the university’s online publication, Richard Reznick, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences stated “At Queen’s, we are constantly striving to provide our students with the best possible education and so we have made it a fundamental component of our strategy to develop and trial new models of training.
“As such, we are very excited by the value of a system of competency-based education and are thrilled to take a national lead by transitioning all of our specialty medicine residency training programs at once.”
For international and Canadian students who wish to study medicine, the CBME model allows individualized learning, improved flexibility, advanced assessments, relevant feedback, and preparation for practice.
While admittance into medical school can be challenging even for native-born students, many universities across Canada accept a portion of international prospective medical students into their programs. However, international students who intend to study medicine in Canada may be able to begin in an undergraduate program, transition to permanent residence once eligible, and then eventually apply to a medical school as a permanent resident or citizen.
The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada urges all medical schools across Canada to follow suit in applying CBME’s time-free model as part to their residency programs.
Learn more about your options for studying in Canada.
Prospective medical students can research programs and institutions across Canada using Canada School Search and School Match Canada.
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