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1. Purpose

1.1. To state elective expectations regarding approved sites, duration, Clerk assessment forms and elective evaluations, the appropriate procedure for elective approval and change/cancellation requests, immunization requirements, as well as malpractice and personal insurance.

1.2. To outline the importance of additional electives with the understanding that Clerks need vacation time to support their mental, physical, and spiritual wellness.

1.3. To ensure compliance with Accreditation Standards:

- Standard 6.5a: There are opportunities for elective experiences in the medical curriculum particularly in the later years of the educational program that permit medical clerks to gain exposure to and deepen their understanding of medical specialties reflecting their career interests and to purse their individual academic interests.

- Standard 6.5b: The medical school has policies or practices that encourage medical clerks to use electives to pursue a broad range of interests in addition to their chosen specialty.

2. Definitions

UGME: Undergraduate Medical Education.

CACMS: The Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) was founded to act as the reliable authority for the accreditation of programs of medical education leading to the MD degree in Canada. The CACMS accredits complete and independent medical schools whose students are geographically located in Canada for their education, and which are offered by universities that are chartered and operated in Canada. (Reference: https://cacms-cafmc.ca/about-cacms)

Summative assessment: The quantitative assessment used to measure students’ understanding and theoretical application skills after a predetermined period of instruction of a section, chapter, unit, module, or course.

Formative assessment: The assessment used formally and informally to monitor as well as support students’ learning progress during instruction of a course/rotation. It typically involves qualitative or narrative feedback (rather than quantitative scores) to focus on specific content details and aspects of performance.

CaRMS: Canadian Resident Matching Service.

AFMC: Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.

3. Scope

This policy applies to U of S College of Medicine undergraduate students in the graduating class of 2018 and onward.

4. Policy Guidelines

Clerks are responsible for arranging their electives. Electives may be completed at:

- Any CACMS accredited medical school and/or LCME accredited North American medical school.

- Approved international sites.

- Other sites as approved by the UGME Year Chair.

Clerks will not be granted credit for an elective supervised by a member of their immediate or extended family as well as anyone with whom they have a personal relationship with or have another conflict of interest. Additionally, clerks will not be granted credit for an elective with any physician providing care to them, or physicians with the Office of Student Affairs. https://medicine.usask.ca/policies/conflict-of-interest.php

Clerks are strongly encouraged to meet with a Career Advisor prior to their electives application to develop a personalized learning plan for their elective year. All students must submit their electives worksheet to the UGME office; ugme.electives@usask.ca  which is then sent to the appropriate Year Chair/ Site Coordinator for approval, recognizing that changes may occur due to scheduling. Focus will be placed on the 13 weeks of electives prior to CaRMS.

All elective applications must be requested through the appropriate Department Coordinators via Sharepoint . Electives cannot be scheduled directly with an individual preceptor or site as this impedes departmental scheduling and coordination of clerks. Clerks looking for a certain experience must include this request in their elective form or speak with the Department Coordinator. Before starting an elective, clerks must have approval from the Year Chair or Year Site Coordinator. Clerks must ensure pertinent information regarding each elective is current and accurate in One45.The Clerk is responsible for ensuring an Elective Assessment form is completed by the preceptor and submitted on One45 within 6 weeks of the elective end date. Failure to do so will be considered a failed elective and no credit will be granted. The Clerk is responsible for completing the appropriate elective evaluation within 4 weeks of the elective end date and submitting it on One45.

All Clerks must complete a minimum of 20 weeks of electives. There are 22 weeks of electives scheduled, but this will allow two weeks for unforseen circumstances (e.g. self-isolation, etc.).. Please note the maximum amount of time away from an elective in order to be considered complete is 3 days out of a 2-week elective. One-week electives can be counted towards the total number, but no vacation time will be allowed during this week.

An elective must be passed in order to receive credit. If a student fails an elective for whatever reason, they may be required to remediate, even if they have met the 20 week minimum. Most electives are a minimum of two weeks in duration. Typically, a maximum of 6 weeks will be allowed. Electives start on Monday (Tuesday in the case of statutory holidays) and end on Friday. Weekends are for travel time. It is recommended that Clerks choose to participate in electives in Saskatchewan during the CaRMS match results to facilitate working on the second iteration and accessing the support to do so.

5. Procedures

5. Procedures

Clerks must apply through the AFMC portal for all electives beginning with the Class of 2022 (https://www.afmcstudentportal.ca/). Application timelines are 26 weeks prior to the start date of the elective. Refer to the AFMC portal for:

  • AFMC Clerk Registration Information
  • AFMC Clerk Application Process
  • AFMC Help Documents
  • AFMC Timelines

5.1 Electives in Departments at U of S Sites

Clerks should apply for in-province electives by clicking on the “Home Electives Students” tab on the U of S AFMC portal homepage (https://www.afmcstudentportal.ca/institution/uSaskatchewan#/). If an elective opportunity is extended, the Clerk will have 7 days to accept or decline the opportunity. Once the elective is accepted, it will be considered finalized and the information will be added to One45. The Clerk is responsible for ensuring an Elective Assessment form is completed by the preceptor and submitted on One45 within 6 weeks of the elective end date. Failure to do so will be considered a failed elective and no credit will be granted. The Clerk is responsible for completing the appropriate elective evaluation within 4 weeks of the elective end date and submitting it on One45.


5.2 Electives in Other Canadian Provinces

For confirmed electives to be added to One45, the Clerk must email the official confirmation from the AFMC Portal to: ugme.electives@usask.ca. In order to be approved, the student must include a preceptor name and email with the AFMC confirmation. Once submitted, the elective will be considered finalized.

The Clerk is responsible for ensuring an Elective Assessment form is completed by the preceptor, as well as submitted to and received by the UGME Office. Clerks can send the Elective  Assessment Form through One45 by setting up a temporary account through the Sharepoint site: https://share.usask.ca/medicine/ugme/electives/Lists/Outofprovince%20Elective%20Preceptors/NewForm.aspx . Clerks will be notified within 2 weeks of the end date of the elective if an Elective Assessment form has not been received. Clerks must ensure the UGME Office receives their final Elective Assessment form from the appropriate preceptor within 6 weeks of the elective end date. Failure to do so will be considered a failed elective and no credit will be granted. The Clerk is responsible for completing the appropriate elective evaluation within 4 weeks of the elective end date and submitting it on One45.

For electives 4 weeks or longer, it is strongly recommended that the Clerk requests their preceptor to provide mid-point formative feedback and complete a Formative Assessment form; however, a Formative Assessment form is not required to be submitted to the UGME Office.


5.3 International Electives

For confirmed electives to be added to One45, the Clerk must email the official confirmation from the AFMC Portal to: ugme.electives@usask.ca. In order to be approved, the student must include a preceptor name and email with the AFMC confirmation. Once submitted, the elective will be considered finalized.

The Clerk is responsible for ensuring an Elective Assessment form is completed by the preceptor, as well as submitted to and received by the UGME Office. Clerks can send the Elective  Assessment Form through One45 by setting up a temporary account through the Sharepoint site: https://share.usask.ca/medicine/ugme/electives/Lists/Outofprovince%20Elective%20Preceptors/NewForm.aspx . Clerks will be notified within 2 weeks of the end date of the elective if an Elective Assessment form has not been received. Clerks must ensure the UGME Office receives their final Elective Assessment form from the appropriate preceptor within 6 weeks of the elective end date. Failure to do so will be considered a failed elective and no credit will be granted. The Clerk is responsible for completing the appropriate elective evaluation within 4 weeks of the elective end date and submitting it on One45.

For electives 4 weeks or longer, it is strongly recommended that the Clerk requests their preceptor to provide mid-point formative feedback and complete a Formative Assessment form; however, a Formative Assessment form is not required to be submitted to the UGME Office.

 

6. Diversity

6.1. Diversity Requirement

Clerks must complete a minimum of 3 diversity electives, each a minimum of 2 weeks in length. This is defined as 2 different general areas (i.e. Internal Medicine, Surgery, Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Family Medicine, PM&R, Pathology, Radiology, Nuclear Medicine). Elective diversity allows the clerk to experience a broader scope of medicine and may help with residency preparation.In addition, The University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine abides by the AFMC diversification policy (https://afmc.ca/media-releases/afmc-student-electives-diversification-policy ):

AFMC Student Electives Diversification Policy: 

“Undergraduate programs recognize their dual responsibility to ensure students undertake a full educational experience that prepares them for any potential career choice, while also optimizing their ability to engage in the increasingly competitive postgraduate match process. Undertaking elective experiences exclusively in a single discipline is pedagogically unsound and fails to provide students with a full exposure to potential career options. Consequently, we commit that, beginning with the Class of 2021, student elective opportunities cannot exceed a maximum of eight weeks in any single entry-level discipline. An entry-level discipline is an Entry Route in the PGY-1 (R1) match. Each of these entry-level disciplines leads to specialty certification with either the RCPSC or the CCFP. Electives in subspecialties that are part of a PGY-3 (R3) match (such as the subspecialties in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics) are counted as separate disciplines. As such, electives in these subspecialties do not count towards the 8-week maximum in the general specialty”. 

As such, the maximum time allowed in any one specialty, with the exception of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine subspecialties will be 8 weeks.

 

 6.2 Noncompliance

Being outside the 8-week maximum in a specialty area (other than Internal Medicine and Pediatrics subspecialties), may put the student at a disadvantage when applying through CaRMS for a Residency position.  If a student is found to have greater than 8 weeks in any one specialty (with the exception of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics subspecialtiy areas), the additional weeks will not count towards the minimum number electives required for completion of the electives course, and the student may be required to do remediation.  Additionally, none of the comments from those electives will be allowed on the MSPR. The student may also be subject to a professionalism citing.

All students are responsible for counting their own number of weeks in each area.  However, students should be aware that there will be random audits done with ONE45 to ensure compliance.

Please note that Year 5 is unique and while this year must abide by the diversity policy, their previous years’ electives do not count towards the maximum.

7. Vacation

Please note that for the Class of 2021, due to the pandemic as well as independent learning time in Year 3, there will be NO vacation or education time allowed in Year 4.

In Year 4, Clerks are entitled to 3 weeks of vacation: 1 week of their choice and 2 weeks during the December break. To ensure proper work-life balance and maintenance of overall wellness, it is strongly encouraged that all Clerks utilize the entirety of their allotted vacation time. Clerks may defer up to 1 week of vacation time from Year 3 in to Year 4.

Please note the maximum amount of time away from an elective in order to be considered complete is 3 days out of a 2-week elective. One-week electives can be counted towards the total number, however they cannot be combined with a week of vacation and count as 2 weeks of electives.

Clerks are discouraged from taking electives during the holiday break in December due to potential supervision concerns, as many clinical learning sites have fewer staff and residents during this time. If a Clerk proposes to undertake an elective during this time, the clerk must provide written documentation from their preceptor stating they will receive adequate supervision.

8. Additonal (Early) Elective Time

Clerks can be considered for an additional 3 week of elective time during Year 3 (to a maximum of 25 weeks total of electives). The Clerk must be in good academic standing as well as meeting expectations on all rotations to be considered and approved for additional elective time. The Year Chair must approve the extra elective time prior to beginning the elective application process. Clerks will not be approved, nor will receive credit, for more than 25 weeks of electives. Please note that even if an elective is completed in Year 3, all scheduled weeks of electives in Year 4 must still be completed (outside of vacation and education time).

9. Application Procedure for Additional (Early) Elective Time

The Clerk must submit a written request to the Year Chair no later than 1 month prior to the start date of the elective. The request must include a description of the additional elective and rationale for why the additional elective time is needed. Additional elective time requested during the December break must be accompanied by correspondence from the proposed elective Department Coordinator indicating that there

will be adequate clinical supervision of the Clerk. The Clerk must also apply for and have vacation time approved prior to applying for elective.

The relevant Year Chair reviews additional elective requests. If the following criteria are met, the additional elective time will typically be approved:

- The clerk is in good academic standing;

- The request does not exceed the maximum 23 weeks of electives; and

- There is clear rationale for the additional elective time.

The Year Chair will communicate the application status to the Clerk as soon as possible, but ideally within 2 weeks of the request submission. If a request is rejected, the Clerk will be provided with an explanation. Application appeals can be submitted by the Clerk to the Assistant Dean, Academic.

10. Canellation Policy

Electives should be cancelled by the Clerk at least 4 weeks prior to the start date of the elective. Failure to do so will result in a discussion regarding professionalism and possible documentation through a Professionalism Report/Discussion Form. Exceptional circumstances requiring an elective cancellation will be considered. Clerks must notify the department where and when the elective was to take place. In addition, the UGME Office must be notified of the cancellation at: ugme.elective@usask.ca.

Please note that electives done at schools through the AFMC portal and international electives may have their own cancellation policy. Clerks will be expected to adhere to individual school’s guidelines and procedures.

11. Immunizations

All Clerks must have received their mandatory immunizations OR shown proof of immunity prior to the start date of all electives. This is generally required during the application process. Any Clerk not having met this requirement must report to the Occupational Health and Safety Office to update any missing immunizations. Immunization requirements are listed at: https://afmcstudentportal.ca/immunization

For patient protection, all Clerks (who do not have medical contradictions) are expected to be immunized for influenza. Clerks will be advised of any updates to provincial or regional public health policies for Saskatchewan electives.

Additional immunization requirements (i.e. international electives) will be at the student’s expense.

 

12. N95 Mask Fittings

 All clerks are required to have a current and valid N95 mask fitting.

 

13. Police Information Check

External electives generally require a current criminal record and may require a vulnerable person’s check. These can be organized through the local Police Department. Please check the AFMC portal for individual school requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to provide the UGME and CPSS with any changes to the original Criminal Record Check submitted for Clerkship.

14. Blood/Body Fluid Exposure

The Medical Student Exposure to Infectious and Environmental Hazards Policy and local health region/authority occupational health procedure can be accessed at: http://medicine.usask.ca/policies/medical-student-exposure-to-infectious-and-environmental-hazards.php

15. Insurance

University of Saskatchewan Clerks are covered under the U of S CURIE insurance policy for up to 25 weeks of electives. This includes any contractual liability, professional and malpractice liability, cross liability, and tenant’s legal and employer’s liability arising out of their elective duties. Coverage applies to any electives taken within Canada.

16. Distribution

This policy will be distributed to students as well as Department Coordinators and Site Directors.

 

17. College of Medicine Resposibilities

The Assistant Dean, Academic, is responsible for providing oversight to the overall administration of the Clerkship Electives Policy within the College of Medicine.

The Manager, Undergraduate Medical Education, with the assistance of the Undergraduate Medical Education Office, is responsible for the implementation, monitoring, maintenance, and evaluation of the Clerkship Elective Policy within the College of Medicine campus in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

18. Non-Compliance

Clerks not complying with the procedures outlined above will have their elective cancelled and no credit received. Instances or concerns of non-compliance with the U of S Clerkship Elective Policy should be brought to the attention of the Vice-Dean, Education or the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education, within the College of Medicine.

19. Contact

Sherry Pederson

Manager, UGME
Email: sherry.pederson@usask.ca
Phone: (306) 966-6142
Fax: (306) 966-2601
3A20 Health Sciences Building, U of S
107 Wiggins Road
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E5