With the requirement for a four year degree as a prerequisite for admission to the University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine, there is the potential that students enrolled in the Undergraduate MD Program will possess degrees in other health professions. They may have been employed, for example as nurses, pharmacists, speech-language pathologists, physical therapists, clinical psychologists, dietitians and emergency medical technicians. Some medical students may seek employment in the health profession in which they are registered, part-time during the school year or during school breaks in order to offset the expenses accrued during their medical studies. This has the potential to result in role confusion if the medical student undertakes a clinical learning experience in a facility for which they are or were employed as a health professional in another discipline. These guidelines will provide guidance for the medical students when they experience clinical situations in which they have dual health professional identities.
When a learner in the Undergraduate MD Program, College of Medicine, is employed to provide patient care as a registered health professional in another discipline, the learner cannot at any time function as a medical student. The learner must identify themselves as a licensed health professional and not as a medical student. The learner is required to provide care within the scope of practice of that health profession.
Learners in the Undergraduate MD Program, College of Medicine who have the dual identities as medical students and licensed health professionals in another discipline have important responsibilities when they participate in clinical learning experiences as medical students in health care facilities in which they are or have previously been employed. These include:
- Ensure there is a clear delineation of their role as a licensed health professional when they are employed as such.
- Not participate in care of patients as a medical student if they are also participating in care of the same patients as a health professional in another discipline.
- Clearly communicate the change in their roles from licensed health professional to medical student to colleagues after concluding their work shift.
- Ensure use of appropriate identification to clearly indicate to patients, families, or any member of the health care team their role as either a medical student or employee. This includes signing notes in patient charts.
- Ensure utilization of clothing consistent with the role in which the learner is functioning. For medical students refer to the Dress Code Policy.
In extraordinary circumstances, such as a medical emergency, a medical student may be asked to utilize a role or skill which would have been consistent with their licensed health professional role. The expectation is that the medical student would be under direct supervision by the Most Responsible Physician at all times and would only be engaged in the skill if critically needed.
If consent is requested or a procedure delivered, it should be clearly communicated to the patient, family and attending staff that the learner is experienced in and registered to undertake this procedure as a professional. The patient or family should be clear on the dual role of the learner.
Reference: This policy was adapted from the Council of Ontario Faculties of Medicine’s UE COFM Guidelines: Student Learning in a Clinical Setting of Employment (reapproved October 9, 2018)
Associate Dean UGME, College of Medicine