MedEd 2021 - Lions Gate Hospital Foundation

MedEd 2021 Replay

Thank you for attending the second annual MedEd conference, brought to you by the Lions Gate Hospital Foundation’s Youth Advisory Committee!

We would like to thank you all for attending and supporting our local hospital, as all ticket proceeds from this event will go towards making our Emergency Department safer and more responsive to the needs of patients in medical crises.

Watch the replay of MedEd 2021

Answers from our expert panel

We had some questions that we were unable to get to during the session, which you can find the answers to below.

For Dr. Roger Wong:

  • How has patient care changed due to COVID?

There are a number of adaptations made to maintain the health and safety of our patients and their loved ones. One such example is the advancement of virtual healthcare. That said, in-person health care continues to be available to those whose health needs require such care.

  • How would you get into Medical School? For example, does UBC look solely at your grades?

UBC Medicine considers both academic (grades) and non-academic qualities of applicants. Please refer to the official UBC MD Admissions website.

  • As a result of COVID-19, have you seen an increase in the importance of non-pharmacotherapeutic treatment in your field? As a pharmacology student, how would you recommend exploring the importance of psychology in geriatrics?      

In many clinical conditions, both medication and non-medication approaches are important in the treatment plans. Psychology is always important in seniors’ care. Good mental health is important for good overall health.

  • In your perspective as a frontline doctor, what do you think is the most important lesson learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic?

The power of compassion is so important in the delivery of health care, especially at times of crisis such as during the global pandemic.

  • Knowing 2 language other than English does give you any advantages and is the certain examination for 2nd language required for medical school entry?

The language requirements in medical schools may vary across Canada. The ability to communicate in another language can be helpful in delivering care to patients from a culturally sensitive and safe manner.

  • What are some volunteer opportunities that you recommend that will help youth leading into a career in medicine?

 There are many volunteer opportunities available to serving the needs of our communities. They do not need to be limited to healthcare.

  • For those who are interested in medicine, what would be something that can help you get into medical school? Specific volunteering, grades?

UBC Medicine considers both academic (grades) and non-academic qualities of applicants. Please refer to the official UBC MD Admissions website.

For David Damian:

  • How long did you go to school for nursing?

The nursing program took 3 years at BCIT, and because they were on a trimester program we could condense our time to completion. What was significant about the BCIT program was that you were into your clinical experience right from the first term. Other programs take 4 years to complete, some also delay your clinical experience until your 2nd-3rd year. Please confirm with the university you wish to attend for program details. 

  • In the speaker descriptions on the LGHF website, it says that you also do quite a bit of research. What kind of research do you conduct, and how much time do you spend in research and nursing?

Yes and thank you for asking, please see the link below. It will be available for free for 50 days (commencing Feb 2021). I’d also like to thank VCH Research Institute Challenge and the LGH Foundation Women’s Giving Circle for their generous financial support of the research study.

Journal: International Emergency Nursing

Title: Impact of motivational interviewing training on emergency department nurses’ skills: A one-group pretest-post test pilot study.,dwkwkbxv

Also through the VCH website, you can find the link to the VCH Research Institute Challenge which is an initiative that is put together by VCH Authority that encourages and sponsors evidence-based practice. The study you’ll find in the link above took three years to complete, I was the team lead and co-investigator. Due to COVID, the study was by 10 months. The research was conducted on our time and non-paid.

  • Was it hard to choose between the different career paths you wanted to pursue?

As a former student myself, finding a career path was never easy. What helped me the most was being able to keep my options open. What I mean by that is that even though you might have a specific goal in mind, ie. going to medical school/nursing, take other electives that interest you. You’ll find by pursuing an eclectic group of topics/subjects makes you a more well-rounded individual, you discover different perspectives or may even solidify your previous beliefs. It is this overall balanced view of the world that really can make a difference in the world and its future. 

  • Was there a reason why you choose SFU to study your undergraduate degree at?

SFU at the time was the best place to start as they had smaller class sizes. For me, that was the best situation as I enjoyed learning in smaller groups, the professors and teaching assistants were more readily available. At the time, one of the biggest draws to SFU was their coop program, which I strongly recommend as it was instrumental in landing me my initial job after university. 

  • What prompted you to become a nurse?

That honour really goes to my wife (Kerry). Having already completed a science degree and worked in physical rehab, I met with the Dean of Medicine at UBC, I really felt the desire to go into medicine but as a mature student with one child already on the way, it just seemed like a long 7 yrs. My wife, who herself worked in rehabilitation at VGH, steered me to nursing, it was a shorter program which meant I could complete the program in three years and start earning an income towards a medical degree. Although the intent at the time was to go into a medical program, I found that passion in nursing. 

  • Is there a way to transfer into medical science studies in your university undergrad if you are in a first year Arts major because you did not take high school science pre requisites for a sciences undergrad?

Absolutely, nothing is impossible. My recommendation is to book an appointment with your academic advisor and see the course plan to transition into a science. It’s important to have a course plan as some courses may not be offered in certain semesters which may delay your progress. 

  • Any suggestions of ways to gain experience related to nursing during the pandemic when volunteering isn’t an option for everyone?    

Here’s where you have to be a little more entrepreneurial. First thing though, if you’ve got your name/application at a hospital for volunteering I would continue to check-in periodically as pandemic protocols change almost every week or so, that goes for nursing homes and recreation centres that run programs related to health and wellness for older adults, etc. There are several COVID testing centres popping-up in all regions in the Lower Mainland and from the sheer numbers needing COVID-19 testing, there maybe possible volunteer postings and even paid positions to get involved. As we’ve moved into remote work spaces due to the pandemic, linking remotely with non-profit organizations, i.e. LGH Foundation, to participate in focus groups, youth program development, facilitating surveys and health initiatives from planning to implementation can really help pad your resume. Just remember, you can pick-up skills from a number of different professional sectors that are outside the realm of healthcare but still very applicable to nursing/medicine. These skills involve organization, communication, leadership and the ability to work as a team member.

  • As you also have experiences in Chinese medicine, what are some job criteria that must be held by the individuals?

I would interpret this question as relating to the scope of practice. It is important to differentiate your role in the work setting, facility and professional obligation that must be maintained. I practice within my scope of practice as an RN, member of the BC College of Nurses and Midwives, in the emergency department. Outside of that in other clinical practices, such as Chinese medicine and acupuncture, I am bound by the standards of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist of BC. 

  • How’s the income?

New grads receive approximately $35/hr – $45/hr (9 steps annual increase), nurses will always be needed today and in the future. Income is also based on how much overtime hours you wish to work, so income can increase significantly. I did not mention in the zoom that nurses are also in demand as travel nurses, which can pay more but may forfeit benefits. 

For Dr. Matt Orde

  • I am very interested in forensic pathology and I want to ask, what is the most interesting unnatural cases that you have been involved in?

This is a very difficult question to answer, because each and every death I investigate is of course unique, and they all have their own fascinating peculiarities – naturally particularly so for family members and other close acquaintances. Indeed, it is often the simplest of cases from the pathology perspective that provide the greatest satisfaction, such as identifying hereditary disease, thereby prompting appropriate treatment in surviving blood relatives, which can save lives. However, one case in particular does stand out as somewhat unusual. During my time in South Africa I examined the body of a young adult male who had apparently been in the process of undertaking an armed robbery at the time of his death. He had gone armed not only with firearms, but also with ‘mhuti’ (magic medicine) – with a view to rendering him immune to injury, thereby emboldening him. Incredibly, the shopkeeper, whose premises were reportedly being targeted by the deceased, apparently pulled out his 9mm handgun, and fired several rounds into the deceased, but the deceased remained standing. Ultimately, however, he pulled out a shotgun from under his counter, and this weapon proved somewhat more successful. At autopsy, I was amazed to find that he had indeed been struck by several 9mm rounds, though none of which had penetrated: as I recall, one struck a book in his breast pocket; another struck his watch; one struck his belt buckle; and one struck a stone in his pocket. Perhaps the Mhuti had some powers after all!

  • How many cadavers have you performed an autopsy on?

I have performed approximately 3600 autopsies, and have also supervised an additional similar number performed by trainees – some practitioners would counter these as ‘their’ autopsies. Some of the longest-serving practitioners claim to have performed in the region of 15-20,000!

  • Who would you suggest enter into this field and what qualities are essential?

I think the most important attribute one would benefit from in order to be successful and enjoy a career in forensic pathology is a keen enjoyment of science, and the process of working things out. The work can be pain-staking, slow, and methodical, but is typically quite rewarding.

  • In your experiences, what’s the longest time that a cadaver that you have seen has been left unnoticed(rotting?)

It is not uncommon for bodies to be found many, many years after death. Whilst not one of my own cases, I recall reading in the news recently about a house that went on the market in, I think, the Parisian suburbs, uninhabited since the ~1960s, which upon inspection was found to have a severely decomposed body present within!

  • Do you have to separate feelings and emotions from your job when having to examine dead bodies?       

To some extent, yes. As I mentioned in my presentation, yes, we are sometimes confronted with evidence of man’s inhumanity to man, which can be difficult to deal with, particularly in relation to the deaths of the young and innocent. However, I do try and bear in mind that we are very much the providers of the last medical care a person will receive, and as such I typically don’t feel it necessary to remove myself too much from the situation.

For the Panel

  • What is MCAD?

The term MCAT was mentioned, Medical College Admission Test.

  • Would you recommend taking a prestigious undergraduate program?

From Ana: What is most important is for the student to enter a program of study in what they are most interested in. No program is better or more “prestigious” than another, and not everyone has the same means/opportunities to attend certain post-secondary institutions; medical schools appreciate and acknowledge this.

From Brooke: My biggest recommendation would be to choose your undergraduate program based on interest, regardless of how prestigious it is. It is unclear how schools evaluate the undergraduate program of an applicant (if they do at all – it is possible that evaluation is only based on grades). Your career interests will likely change over time, so at least if you study something that you like for your undergraduate degree (eg. instead of picking a program because it relates more to Career X or Y), then you will be setting yourself up well. Furthermore, if you are more interested in the subject material, you’ll likely find that you study harder and achieve better marks! Again, medical students can come from all different backgrounds (arts, business…), so don’t feel limited.

From Eric: I can’t speak on prestigious undergraduate programs but undergraduate program choice can influence several things on your medical application. For instance, if you are applying outside of BC, there may be prerequisite classes (that might be outside of your undergrad program) that you need to complete before applying to that specific school. In addition, medical schooling tends to use a lot of scientific terminology, undergraduate programs that have a science component will definitely be a strength once you are in medical school.

  • Is age important when getting into med school? How does being older than most of the other student affect you?

From Ana: Age is not considered in medical admissions – there are students from various different stages of life.

From Brooke: Great question – I don’t think that age is important. I entered med school just before I turned 21, which is the youngest age group of my class, and there are also classmates of mine who are starting at age 40+. I was initially worried that being younger might negatively impact me, but I’ve found that everyone is extremely open and inclusive regardless of age or background. There are definitely benefits both ways. For example, my older classmates more years of education/training and general life experience overall, and I was able to save a few years of time/university tuition. Either way, the playing field equalizes in first year of med school so that people from any age start at the same point of training.

From Eric: My short answer would be no. When you enter medical school, you will meet classmates along a wide age range. As an older applicant myself, I think the extra time before starting medical school gave me more time to pursue my own interests in research as well as reflect on whether a career in medicine would be the right choice for me. 

  • Do you think it is a good idea to go into med school directly after undergrad or is it better to take a break and get more experience before applying?

From Ana: There is no right answer to this question – this depends on what is best for you and your interests/goals. It is best to apply when you feel ready for the possibility of starting medical school. If you are someone who is interested in more academia, research, or if you have other areas of interest to you, then I would suggest taking time to explore these options/opportunities as they may not be an option later in your medical training journey. 

From Brooke: Both options definitely have significant benefits! I would encourage you not to feel rushed to go into medicine, as there are so many options of careers in the health care field (eg. nurse, therapists, technicians, etc.) that you could explore. Medicine is a huge commitment and not a decision that should be made lightly, so taking the time to make sure you know it’s what you want could be useful in the long run. I believe that getting other experience in any field will make you a more broad and well-rounded professional, rather than being a delay.  However, if you feel ready and have the financial means to do so, I think sending in an application (even if you don’t think you have a good chance) could be very helpful – if you are rejected, you are able to get feedback on your current application scores.

From Eric: Like my answer above, there definitely are benefits to doing both and the answer really depends on yourself! I can only speak from my own experience as I had applied to medicine after I had graduated. However, I believe the extra time gave me opportunities to pursue my interests prior to involving the next decades of my life in medicine. But, if you know and figure out that a career in medicine is for you, starting medical school right after undergrad is a very good choice as well.

  • Do you get paid in your residency program?

From Ana: Residents receive a salary during their training. This is different that when in full practice.

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