COVID-19 and UBC PGME

The Faculty of Medicine and PGME continue to monitor all Public Health Orders as related to COVID-19, and respond as required. It is the expectation of PGME that all residents follow and abide by current PHO guidelines.

The safety and wellness of our residents remains our top priority.

You are invited to visit the Faculty of Medicine’s coronavirus FAQs page for answers to common questions about COVID-19 from our Faculty of Medicine experts.

FoM COVID-19 FAQs

The sections below address some of the most common concerns for residents and postgraduate trainees regarding COVID-19 and will be constantly updated with the most recent and accurate information. Please email us at postgrad@postgrad.med.ubc.ca if you have questions which are not addressed here.

Residents starting training in July 2022

If a resident’s arrival is delayed (for example due to restrictions of flights), what are the implications for residents if they are not in BC in time for the residency on-boarding?

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Any delay in residents starting will be managed at the time based on circumstances. Given the dynamic nature of the situation, these circumstances are difficult to predict months in advance. However, it is expected that all incoming residents will follow recommendations by the Provincial Health Office. Any system, government, health authority, or UBC related delays will be managed for all learners in a similar fashion. Individual delays will be managed on a case by case basis. Right now, determinations of training extension or salary implications cannot be predicted. As the time nears, all potential options will be shared with the incoming residents. This will require coordination between UBC and the residents’ employer. Depending on the recommendations in place appropriate flexibility will be on offer in terms of the ability to start, which will account for all scenarios.

Some incoming residents may face challenges completing certain requirements for residency (e.g. ACLS courses) Are there any plans for how to adapt to this?

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For mandatory courses such as ACLS, PGME will work with programs, providers, and Health Authorities to provide courses for those who were unable to complete them. This may be around the time of on-boarding, but if this is not logistically feasible, the extension of deadlines and further courses in the summer or fall will be considered.

For ACLS, incoming residents may wish to refer to opportunities available through The Heart & Stroke foundation – see link below.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation

Are there any guidelines/recommendations for self-isolation prior to the start of residency?

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PGME continues to follow guidelines set forth by the Provincial Health Officer with respect to self-isolation.

For residents arriving from outside Canada, please see the eligibility and travel requirements to enter Canada on the Government of Canada website.

Note: If you have been directed by an official to quarantine upon arrival, please alert your training program and PGME immediately.

Is there a process for COVID-19 vaccination reporting for incoming residents?

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If you are new to BC or have received your vaccination outside of BC, please ensure you have self-registered your COVID-19 vaccine status. Click here to self register. Residents who have not registered are listed as “unvaccinated.”

This page will be updated as information becomes available. Incoming residents with additional questions are encouraged to review the New Resident Registration Guide or contact the UBC PGME office at postgrad@postgrad.med.ubc.ca.

Winter Term update from Faculty of Medicine

Statement by Dean Dermot Kelleher:

Dear students, faculty and staff,

Click this image to download the statement by Dean Dermot Kelleher.

Today, I am writing to advise you that discussions are underway regarding UBC Winter Session Term 2 (WT2) classes, scheduled to begin as early as January 4, 2022.

The Faculty of Medicine (the Faculty) recognizes that we are entering a period of maximum uncertainty with respect to the evolving pandemic situation. The Faculty is actively engaged in the development of a number of response strategies and plans so that we can continue to deliver high-quality education programs while maintaining the safety, health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, patients and the communities we serve.

Therefore, following the UBC Broadcast sent earlier today, the Faculty is implementing a precautionary WT2 blended virtual and in-person approach that will operate until January 24, 2022, for all Faculty of Medicine educational programs – with the exception of postgraduate medical education residency programs, and programs whereby graduate students and postdoctoral trainees work in research laboratories.

For this interim period, virtual instructional delivery is being prepared for all lectures, seminars, small group discussions/teaching and tutorials. In-person experiential learning and practical/clinical experiences will continue in WT2, including: clinical skills training, clinical practicum, clinical rotations and practical laboratories. Students are required to attend all onsite, in-person experiential learning and practical/clinical experiences. This blended approach to education is intended to ensure academic continuity. For further details, all students are directed to contact their respective program directors/leaders regarding their courses and programs.

This interim arrangement is pedagogically based, with the intention of maintaining academic continuity and student experiences during the rapidly evolving pandemic situation. Ultimately, the goal is to enable the eventual transition back to fully in-person learning and instruction later in WT2.

Both UBC academic campuses will remain open and all libraries, student housing and services will be available. Further, administrative managers and supervisors will continue to exercise flexibility in allowing remote work, where academic or operational requirements permit; however, where in person work remains necessary, remote work arrangements may not be possible. Research and scholarship activities on UBC campuses continue within current safety plans.

The Faculty will continue to monitor the situation and is committed to providing further updates as new information becomes available in the new year.

LEARNING AND TEACHING RESOURCES

In support, the Faculty will provide the same extensive repertoire of learning and teaching resources to support online learning and instruction during the transition period, such as Faculty of Medicine Virtual Education Resource Hub and UBC Center of Teaching, Learning and Technology.

For in-person instructional delivery, all attendees must continue to adhere to the public health and safety requirements, including but not limited to, the use of appropriate personal protective equipment and adherence to all Provincial Health Officer Orders.

STUDENT AND LEARNER SUPPORT RESOURCES

  • All students and learners have access to UBC Student Counselling Services and the UBC Student Assistance Program, which offers free, 24/7 wellness resources for students, including personal counselling here.
  • Students and trainees in Graduate and Postdoctoral programs can access resources offered through the Faculty of Medicine Graduate Student Wellbeing office and Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  • Students in the MD Undergraduate Program have access to Student Affairs which includes confidential and personal advising.
  • Postgraduate Medical Residents have access to free and confidential counselling through the UBC Resident Wellness Office (resident.wellness@ubc.ca). In addition, postgraduate residents have access to BC Physician Health Program and the VCH Employee and Family Assistance Program which offers 24/7 confidential and personalized support.
  • For additional program-specific support services and resources, please contact your program director/lead for further assistance.In closing, I know for all of us the health, well-being and safety of our learners, faculty, staff and patients remain a top priority. We are truly grateful and thank you in advance for your efforts and ongoing support.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

COVID-19 Booster Vaccination Information

Please see this Memo from Vancouver Coastal Health regarding the administration of booster shots for health care workers. The details in this memo are relevant to all UBC residents irrespective of training location.

PHO Vaccination mandate
The Provincial Health Officer (PHO) in British Columbia has mandated that all hospital and health care employers establish, implement and ensure compliance with a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy effective October 25, 2021. All University of British Columbia Residents, Fellows and Postgraduate Trainees must ensure that they comply with the PHO Order in order to continue with their training. Any trainee who is not in compliance with the PHO Order risks employment consequences and will be prohibited from working at any facility covered by the Order.

As a medical resident, does the UBC COVID-19 Rapid Testing Program apply to me?

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No. Medical residents are not required to complete the declaration or testing, and should continue to follow the rules of the health authority in which they work. However, residents who are going to attend UBC’s Vancouver or Okanagan campuses (perhaps to attend academic events, for example) will be required to complete the Vaccination Status Declaration and do COVID-19 rapid testing as applicable.

Where can I get vaccinated quickly?

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Registration and booking through the provincial Get Vaccinated system is encouraged.

You can also visit the BC Government website to find a constantly updated list of all mobile and drop-in vaccination sites across the entire province.

This section will be updated as information becomes available. PGME recommends and encourages all residents to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as a way of protecting yourselves, patients, and the communities you work in throughout your residency from the spread of COVID-19. We understand that in some cases you may be asked by preceptors, site directors or others about your vaccination status. Should you have any questions or concerns please contact the UBC PGME office at postgrad@postgrad.med.ubc.ca.

Residents' travel and Elective opportunities

Can Residents travel to do electives or attend conferences? What are the restrictions?

With respect to academic activities, program electives, conferences and meetings, PGME programs and residents must follow recommendations provided in the Government of Canada Active Travel Advisories.

The latest information can be found here:

Latest travel health advice

Elective rotations and conferences are considered non-essential travel.

Please see this announcement from The UBC Department of Medicine relating to this here

Certification Examinations

Royal College Examinations – 2022

The 2022 Royal College Fall Examination dates and sites are now available here

Please carefully review the written, oral and OSCE exam dates and sites, as some may have moved by as much as four weeks relative to 2021 exam dates.

Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part II

The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) announced on June 9th 2021 that it would step away from delivery of the MCCQE Part II examination.  The MCC would grant the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) to candidates who meet all the following requirements:

1. Are a graduate from:
  • a) a medical school accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools or the Liaison Committee on Medical Education; or
  • b) a medical school listed in one or more directories of medical schools approved from time to time by resolution and be a medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools which includes a sponsor note indicating it is an acceptable medical school in Canada; or
  • c) a United States School of Osteopathic Medicine accredited by the American Osteopathic Association.
2. Have successfully completed the MCCQE Part I (PASS)
3. Have successfully completed:
  • a) at least 12 months of acceptable clinical post graduate medical training as determined by the Executive Director; or
  • b) at least 12 months of acceptable osteopathic post graduate clinical training in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) as determined by the Executive Director; and
4. Have the required medical credentials including verification of postgraduate training successfully source verified through MCC or, in exceptional circumstances, have provided evidence of the required medical credentials acceptable to the Executive Director.

Are there any special considerations for residents attending certification and/ or Medical Council of Canada Examinations in the Spring

Residents are expected to follow procedures and protocols as per above and follow Public Health recommendations. Program directors / Program Committees often provide rotations prior to examinations based on Residents’ needs, opportunities for study and other factors that optimize chances of success at examinations. This level of consideration should continue taking into account program and residents’ needs. MCC, RCPSC and CFPC are monitoring the situation closely and have committed to providing updates to examination candidates as decisions are made regarding examinations.

See below for key links relating to Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada 2021 Exam Information

Examination Dates

Please see Fall 2022 examination dates here

Examination Locations

Candidates can choose to do their written 2021 exams in person at one of our regional hotel exam sites

Exam Delivery Details

Please see the Royal College Spring 2022 Exams: Frequently asked questions

Discipline Specific Exam Format Details

Please see discipline specific examination information here

Resident scheduling and re-deployment

COVID-19 Redeployment

It is important to know that redeployment is completely voluntary for those residents that Program Directors feel are appropriate and eligible to be redeployed (i.e. that their education would not suffer as a result of redeployment). Also, any redeployments of residents are for a maximum of two weeks.

Residents who have volunteered for redeployment in a different Health Authority will be provided with coverage of travel expenses consistent with the PGME policies.

Emergency registration and hiring residents as attending staff (for appropriate senior residents who would volunteer) has not yet occurred. This would occur if:

  1. There was overwhelming unmet clinical need
  2. The Health Authority exhausted all other measures to provide care
  3. A reasonable training experience was no longer possible

Clinical Fellows and Postgraduate Trainees

This page will be updated as information becomes available. If you have additional questions you are encouraged to contact the UBC PGME office at: pgme.electivesandfellows@ubc.ca.

What is the latest with respect to travel restrictions for Clinical Fellows and Postgraduate Trainees?

Please see the Government of Canada website here for up to date information relating to temporary workers.

Where can I get further information on immigration relating to the ongoing COVID-19 situation?

Please see the Government of Canada advisory website here for up to date information.

Will I be required to self-isolate prior to starting my training?

At the current time most incoming postgraduate trainees and fellows arriving from outside Canada will not be required to self-isolate prior to commencing their training. The following documentation is intended to assist trainees with this process:

Carefully review the information provided in the UBC PG Trainee COVID-19 package
Carefully review the information provided in the UBC PG Trainee Self-Isolation Plan
Carefully review the information provided in the BC Self-Isolation Plan

How does the Lower Mainland Provincial Public Health Restrictions affect residency training?

Resident travel for rotations

The Provincial Health Orders exclude worksites and educational activities. Hence resident travel for rotations into and out of the lower mainland is permitted. It is expected residents will minimize contact and use precautions (wearing a mask, monitoring daily symptoms) if they are going from the lower mainland to a lower risk community, as well as continuing to adhere to the local hospital/clinic safety guidelines.

Resident travel for academic sessions

Programs are to continue with the current process of approval within the Faculty of Medicine.

What clinical care can UBC medical students participate in?

Please see this COVID-19 Quick Reference guide for information on the clinical care that residents can expect UBC Year 3 & 4 medical students to participate in.

Residents with symptoms

What steps should Residents showing symptoms of sickness take?

Residents with flu-like symptoms should not be at work, but should recuperate at home on sick leave. This approach not only allows ill residents to get well, but also protects staff and patients.

A sick resident who completes a period of self-isolation directed by public health authorities will be provided with documentation clearing them to return to work, when they are recovered and no longer infectious. Sick residents who have not been directed to self-isolate should return to work when symptoms cease.

If you are concerned that you are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19, please contact your regional health officer:
  • Fraser Health – 1-604-527-4806
  • Interior Health – 1-866-457-5648
  • Northern Health – 1-250-565-2000
  • Vancouver Coastal Health – 1-604-527-4893
  • Island Health – 1-800-204-6166

Current BCCDC guidelines applicable to residents are available at:

BCCDC

The BC Health Care Worker Return to Work Decision Tree below details current guidelines as of September 16, 2020:

Residents working with COVID-19 patients

What precautions should residents take when working with suspected, probable or confirmed cases?

Residents are healthcare workers and learners. Hence, they are expected to care for patients according to the guidelines and recommendations provided by Public Health and the Health Authority in which they are working. Updated guidelines can be found here, and residents should familiarize themselves with these guidelines:

BCCDC

The Collective Agreement continues to govern the terms of residents’ employment.

Caring for a patient with COVID-19 or want to learn more?

The following resource is one (of several) which is being used by our teams:

IBCC COVID-19

Questions concerning access to PPE?

Doctors of BC have a resource listing contacts in each health authority region in BC for questions about supply and distribution of PPE.

Doctors of BC – PPE supplies

If a resident has a workplace exposure to COVID-19 that is confirmed positive, they are to follow the procedures at the link below and contact the HA Workplace Call Centre to report the exposure.

HA Workplace Call Centre

Memo for Postgraduate Trainees

Residents concerned about exposure

What should a resident who believes he/she has had exposure irrespective of travel do?

Similarly, residents who are asymptomatic and have not recently returned from designated COVID-19 affected regions, but believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should be directed to contact 8-1-1, their primary care provider, or local public health office, and follow direction given to them by those sources.

If a resident is instructed by a qualified medical practitioner to self-isolate at home, such a period of self-isolation should be treated as a paid general leave of absence for the duration of the recommended isolation period, except in circumstances where it is feasible for an asymptomatic resident to work from home during self-isolation (see below under the heading: Under what circumstances should and can a resident work from home).

If the Health Authority where the resident is working has the ability to refer its employees, including residents, directly to a Medical Health Officer for assessment, residents with community exposure concerns may be directed to seek assessment by a Medical Health Officer in order to be eligible for paid general leave.

Residents should be directed to keep their Residency Program updated regarding the status of any medical assessment or direction they receive from a qualified medical practitioner. Residents awaiting medical direction or COVID-19 test results should be placed on a paid general leave of absence, provided they are being responsive to the Residency Program’s requests. If a resident is not responsive or if there is concern about the need for self-isolation, Residency Programs should contact the PGME, who will liaise with HEABC for advice.

If a resident has been advised by public health or a medical practitioner to self-isolate or modify duties due to COVID-19 risk (not exposure), they would need to contact their Program Director to discuss their options, which could include working from home.

If a resident feels they are at an increased risk for serious complications with COVID-19 exposure, they are to contact their Program Director and/or the Postgraduate Deans (Dr. Sonia Butterworth and Dr. Ravi Sidhu) to discuss.

Please see the BCCDC guidelines below which includes criteria to assess risk for health care workers exposed to COVID-19 patients as well as information about returning to work after exposure or illness.

Health care worker exposure guidelines

Do I attend work if I have concerns?

If I am concerned do I have to attend work?

Although concerns about potential exposure in the community are understandable, Residents who do not have symptoms of illness or who are not actively seeking direction from a qualified medical practitioner are expected to attend work as usual.

Residents, as Registrants of the College of Physicians and Surgeons and employees of HEABC have a duty to provide care consistent with their licensing and status as a health care provider. If a resident is absent from clinical duties without leave, the Program is to report this information to the PGME Office.

COVID-19 Resource Hub

How was this protocol developed?

How did the PGME develop these procedures (related to leave) and response to COVID-19?

The UBC Faculty of Medicine worked with HEABC to ensure that the answers set out above are consistent with the Resident Doctors’ Collective Agreement and with the approaches being applied by health authorities with respect to other health care workers.