GoldenTicket1ICRE is a truly unique experience in that you have the chance to walk up and just talk to some of the most prolific names in medical education.  Even though most (if not all) of these incredible physician educators are more than happy to talk to any resident, it can still be an intimidating and daunting task.  Prior to the ICRE I had chosen two medical educators that I was going to talk to: Dr. Simon Fleming (@OrthopodReg) and Dr. Richard Reznick (@DeanOnCampus).  After tweeting my conference goals of meeting these two individuals, I received a tweet from the ICRE (@ICREConf) telling me that I had won a golden ticket.  This golden ticket provided me with the chance to meet Dr. Fleming and Dr. Reznick along with several other medical educators prior to the plenary lectures.

GoldenTicket1Winning the golden ticket allowed for me to meet both of my ICRE goals within the first 10 minutes of my arrival to the conference.  It was a personal, casual, and meaningful way for me to get to know these two doctors.  It made the meeting and encounter not awkward at all, we were all just a couple of surgeons coming into town to talk about how great teaching is and how much better it can become.  This casual conversation was interrupted by the plenary, and continued throughout the weekend at lectures, dinner, and the occasional hotel bar.

Winning the golden ticket provided me with a wonderful chance to meet some heroes of medical education.  It also made me realize that most people in the medical education community are like me: approachable, passionate, friendly, and looking to hear from new educators/learners.  My advice is to tweet your #ICRE2018Goals and make some new medical education friends.  Some of the friendships you make at ICRE can span the globe and last a lifetime.  I would have to say I interact with Simon through twitter more than some of my co-residents at other hospitals on a daily basis.  If you don’t win a golden ticket but want to meet some new people, I will be following #ICRE2018Goals and #ICRE2018MeetUp if you want to meet me (@ColmJMcCarthy) and some like-minded people.


ColmDr. Colm McCarthy MDCM, MSc HSED
Orthopaedic Surgery PGY 4
McMaster University
ICRE 2017 Golden Ticket Winner


ICRE is just around the corner – an event that I look forward to each fall. This year I am particularly excited about the learning environment consensus conference October 17-18 in beautiful Halifax.

The consensus conference considers six avenues in the postgraduate learning environment and how they may intersect with each other: psychological, architectural, educational, inclusivity, digital and socio-cultural. Continue Reading »

If you’re a clinical educator interested in finding a balance between workplace and simulation based assessment in your curriculum, join us in Halifax for the Principles of Assessment in Simulation Supplement (PASS) course on Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

We recently spoke with PASS facilitators Walter Tavares, Ryan Brydges and Farhan Bhanji about the details of this excellent pre-conference event.

Q: Can you share some general background on PASS?

A:  Some of the general challenges of work-place based assessment and the roll out of CBD has prompted many to use simulation-based assessments to inform decisions about trainees’ clinical performance.  However, the degree to which simulation is an effective medium for these decisions is a question of validity.  We created PASS to support those using simulation for assessment, aiming to help them understand how best to apply validity frameworks to ensure the rigour of their assessment activities. A group of assessment, validity and simulation experts from across Canada designed PASS to be a supplement to the Royal College Simulation Educator Training (SET) program. Currently simulation-based education is focused primarily on learning and the creation of a ‘safe’ environment. That is important but simulation fails to achieve its true potential for education unless we start to explore where they can / should be a role for assessment.

Q: What topics are included in the course?

A: The PASS course introduces and then gives attendees a chance to work through hands-on examples, applying Kane’s validity framework.  This begins by applying the framework to a laymen’s example, to a worked healthcare example, and finally to the learner’s own assessment contexts and needs. We guide attendees through the process, helping them gradually gain independence and confidence in applying the validity framework.

Q:  Who is the course intended for?

A: The course is intended for those presently using or considering the use of simulation-based assessment either to directly inform decisions regarding clinical competence, or to provide additional data toward decisions regarding clinical competence.

Q: What will attendees gain from attending?

A: By the end of the course learners will have a robust working knowledge of the principles of Kane’s validity framework, allowing them to apply it to the development, implementation, optimization and evaluation of all assessments of clinical competence, especially those that are simulation-based.

Q:  Why is this something they shouldn’t miss?

A: Simulation based assessments are increasingly used to gain insights on learner abilities, the achievement of particular competencies, as a way for structuring formative opportunities and to support the prediction of future clinical performance in novel clinical contexts. To do this well, you need to understand the various threats to these goals and how best to mitigate them. This course provides the learner with the knowledge they need to be able to do that and ensure defensible simulation based assessments.

CBD requirements make it inevitable that high-stakes assessment decisions will be made using data from simulation-based assessments. Kane’s framework provides the foundation for setting up an assessment program with a clear purpose, an aligned strategy for collecting and analyzing data, and a cautious approach to interpretation and decision-making. Attending this course will provide attendees with the knowledge needed to ensure defensible simulation-based assessments.

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in PASS – arrive early in Halifax and register today!

Vatsal Trivedi - Copy (2)Here I am, staring at the evening sun pondering what exactly made me want to be a part of ICRE, and specifically an ICRE Chief Resident. I could say it was an intense desire to be involved at a higher level after having attended the conference, but I’ll let you in on a secret: I have never been to ICRE. It would be shamefully incorrect for me to claim that I’m an expert in this Conference, or in medical education, for that matter. Naturally I would approach any leadership position within the Conference with trepidation! Yet here I am, as one of the ICRE Chief Residents… let me explain:

My involvement with medical education was almost by accident – I entered medical school into a radically different medical program that threw out any notion of “lectures” and focused on small-group, problem-based sessions (before it was becoming standard). In fact, I ended up placed at a distributed education site in one of it’s inaugural years, setting the precedent for excellence in distributed medical education. By some stroke of luck, I ended up in Canada’s first Competency-Based Anesthesiology Residency training program. I quickly found myself helping design the residency program I was a part of, helping steer other programs transition to CBME, and researching the use of simulation in medical education. It would be wrong to say these experiences were all passive Brownian motion as someone progressed through medical training.

All these experiences seemed to have one thing in common: a desire to understand and improve the systems through which we design and deliver our medical education. Indeed, the mentors and stewards of these experiences were former (and current) participants at ICRE! It was clear that this Conference was the hub, the mothership, the place where the fundamentals of our medical education were reviewed and examined. This was the place to be if you wanted to truly understand the movement of tides in the ocean of international residency education. Naturally, I had to be there.

So as a new attendee at ICRE, I look forward to the excellent plenary sessions centered around the Learning Environment. We practice in such diverse settings: clinics, wards, operating rooms, high-dependency units; it is a tragic misunderstanding to think our learning is uniform as we move through them. There are innumerable speakers who have developed a career of expertise in understanding these patterns, and the opportunity to meet, network, and learn from them is immeasurable. Being involved with the planning of the conference has been a great learning experience, but I look forward to hearing the buzz of a room before the start of a session and the discussion of workshops where we can learn to apply these principles to our respective environments.

Ultimately, I look forward to meeting excellent attendees from around the world, and sharing our common ties in medical education despite our vastly diverse training environments. ICRE 2018 is just the place to do so.

surgical teamI look like a surgeon. Apparently. Maybe. Sometimes? It’s now a famous hashtag and a symbol of the empowerment and achievement of women surgeons: #ILookLikeASurgeon

I quite often look like a mum. You know, a bit frazzled with a random snot stain on my shoulder and a lego man or two in my pocket. Or climbing trees or dancing around the kitchen having a home disco with my two children. But not a surgeon.

At the gym, I frequently look like I’m having some sort of cardiac event; red in the face, unable to breathe and sweating profusely. But not a surgeon.

I sometimes look like a friend; providing tea and hugs and tissues when needed and certainly receiving these when required too. I occasionally look brilliant when dancing and laughing loudly. This perception of brilliance can only be held once a few glasses of wine or gin have been consumed and several friends hugged on a rare night out. But not a surgeon.

Except, and here’s the shocking headline, I am a surgeon. A surgeon in training but a surgeon nonetheless. I’m also an NIHR-funded researcher nearing the end of my PhD, the past Vice-President of the national surgical trainee association in the UK and a 2018 ICRE Chief Resident, amongst several other roles. The pyjama wearing, snot-covered, gym bunny-wannabe, gin-loving me is a surgeon, researcher and Chief Resident. And that is quite mad.

I’m not entirely sure how I got to this point. Metaphorical professional doors kept opening, I kept walking through them and now I’m here; with a public persona of professionalism and a feeling of a terrible, dark secret……I am completely sure there must be a mistake. An error. I don’t belong here.

Imposter Syndrome 

Imposter syndrome is a funny thing and something that was first brought to my attention by Chris Lake, Managing Director of Integrated Development and former Head of Professional Development at the NHS Leadership Academy.  Imposter syndrome is typified by, often high-achieving, individuals who fail to acknowledge their accomplishments and have a nagging feeling that they are about to be exposed as wholly inadequate. A fraud. A mistake.

So what’s the problem with exhibiting these sorts of feelings and emotions? Whilst such internal drivers can motivate a desire to improve and self- evaluate, they can also be very restrictive. Those that identify with imposter syndrome may find themselves less likely to apply for promotions or put themselves forward for roles of responsibility as they are convinced they aren’t good enough or lack the skills required. They can dismiss their achievements and under-sell themselves, attributing their success to others rather than having ownership over their own accomplishment. This devalues their achievements and leads others to do the same. A mistaken sense of woeful under-qualification can lead to erosion of self-confidence and loss of contribution to a team.

Tackling self-doubt 

One of the tactics Chris suggests for personally dealing with imposter syndrome is to make an email folder of all the thank-you’s, the positive messages and the feedback you receive. Then, when you are having an acute attack of Imposteritis (an entirely made up word!), you should open the folder, read the contents and be reminded that you are worthy of your achievements, increasing your sense of self-confidence, esteem and value. I went away and did exactly that. I now have a “Boost Folder” in my email inbox. But here’s where I went wrong…. I never once opened it. I filed emails away into it but did not look at it.

I confessed this to Chris a year later and was challenged to actually read the contents. It took me several weeks to look in that folder. In fact, it took several weeks, speaking at a national conference and receiving some great feedback before I felt as though I could perhaps take a look at the endorsements of when I’ve succeeded. It felt a bit weird to sit and read through thank you emails and praise. My initial reaction was to dismiss the contents but with time I am realising that it’s ok to recognise my own achievements, quietly celebrate my own successes and grow in confidence. That’s not being boastful or lacking humility, it’s simply owning the results of my hard work.

I do, in fact, look like a surgeon.

I will be leading a workshop exploring these themes and supporting others in ways to tackle such feelings. I don’t have all the answers and but I am on a journey to both embracing the motivation to do better and fighting the desire to not try because I fear failure or believe someone else would be better placed. Come and join in the conversation at ICRE 2018!

2018_ICRE_ChiefResident_Elsey_PhotoLizzy Elsey is an ICRE 2018 Chief Resident from Nottingham, UK.
Her workshop, Imposter syndrome and overcoming yourself in order to succeed, takes place on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

#ICREWithMeOver the years, ICRE has evolved into one of the most innovative conferences in medical education, attracting over 1,600 participants from nearly 40 different countries around the world.

This year, we’re hoping to build on that momentum and ask you to bring a colleague or friend who has never experienced ICRE before, and introduce them to this exceptional conference.

Past participants who bring a friend to #ICRE2018 in Halifax are encouraged to snap a selfie with the ICRE first-timer, and tweet it using the hashtags #ICRE2018 and #ICREwithMe.

Those who tweet the photo will be entered to win one complimentary registration for #ICRE2019 in Ottawa, September 26-28, 2019!

Don’t delay – bring a friend to Halifax and have them experience #ICREwithMe.

Royal College/JGME Top Research papers

We’re thrilled to announce this year’s Royal College/JGME Top Research papers. From examining faculty ratings to determining assessment anchors, this year’s papers explore medical education research and outcomes.

This year’s papers will be presented on Saturday, October 20 at 0915 at ICRE 2018 in Halifax, Canada.

  • Differences in EM trainee caseload and faculty ratings associated with supervising faculty gender
    Presented by: Lauren Cook-Chaimowitz, McMaster RCPSC Emergency Medicine Training Program, Canada
    Co-authors: Van Diepen, Kelly; Caners, Kyla (McMaster University, Div. of EM, Dept. of Med., Hamilton, ON, Canada); Pardhan, Alim (McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada); Welsford, Michelle (McMaster University, Div. of EM, Dept. of Med., Hamilton, ON, Canada); Chan, Teresa M. (McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada)
  • A grounded theory study of assessment anchors in PGME: Forthcoming opportunities and ongoing tensions
    Presented by: Nancy Dudek, University of Ottawa, Canada
    Co-authors: Gofton, Wade; Rekman, Janelle (University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada); McDougall, Allan (CMPA, Ottawa, Canada)
  • An empirical method for determining sentinel milestone ratings to predict residents’ attainment of recommended graduation targets
    Presented by: Kenji Yamazaki, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, United States of America
    Co-authors: Holmboe, Eric (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Chicago, IL, United States of America); Hamstra, Stanley J. (University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada)

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