Remote Work
Toolkit

Learner Support Services Programs

Learner Support Services Programs

The Learner Support Services Program offers a comprehensive set of learning opportunities for all NOSM learners. Services and learning sessions are categorized in three main topic areas:

Career Advising, Wellness and Inclusion

Some components of this Program are mandatory curriculum in the UME Program, some are optional and more suited to the personal interests and choices of learners. All the programming is designed and timed to best suit learners needs.

Further Information and resources can be found here: https://learn.nosm.ca/moodle/course/index.php?categoryid=149

Career Advising

The career development program continues throughout all four years of the undergraduate medical curriculum, anticipating student needs at each stage of their medical education and is informed by career development theory. It is based in part on the Careers in Medicine (CiM) program and delivers content to students at relevant times during their undergraduate medical education program.  The multi-year plan is designed to build annually upon student experiences.  The program is designed to support students who are at various stages of determining their future career goals.

Students are encouraged to engage in honest and accurate self-assessment in order to better develop an understanding of what medical specialty is the best fit.  Career tools and resources are introduced to students so that they can simultaneously begin to explore the specialty options available within a field of medicine and work towards creating a career plan.  In year 3, Phase 2, students are encouraged to explore different opportunities in medicine, in the northern context and beyond, narrow down specialty choices, and plan their 4th-year electives rotations as well as prepare their residency applications (CaRMS).  In year 4, Phase 3, students begin the application process to matching to residency programs (CaRMS) which involves finalizing a CV, personal statement and preparing for interviews and finalizing all required electives.

Most Career on Track group sessions are delivered to Phase 1 students (year 1 and 2) so they have some career tools and understanding of future career planning.  The year 2 students attend an individual career advisement session with a Learner Affairs Officer who assist students with their career development.  During community placements, students are encouraged to connect with Learner Affairs Officers to continue discussions about career plans as questions arise. Providing career resources early on in the undergraduate medical education program allows students to use opportunities of interaction with physicians in different specialties as a method of increasing their awareness and understanding, and also allows students to further develop some of their clinical skills (connecting with physicians as mentors and advisors).

Learner Wellness

It has been well documented that medical training can compromise medical students’ well-being and mental health. A high academic workload, experiencing traumatic patient encounters for the first time, a competitive residency matching process, and adapting to a hidden curriculum are all common challenges that students experience.

Residency and medical practice can also be stressful and challenging due to heavy workloads, complex practice environments, and high standards of practice. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) reports that roughly 30% of physicians report high levels of burnout.

Learner Support Services at NOSM provides support to students to help cope with the challenges in medical training, as well as develop the knowledge, skills, and behaviours that will allow them to excel in residency and medical practice. Senior Learner Affairs Officers (SLAOs) provide this support through individual meetings and group sessions and by working collaboratively with students to develop personalized and comprehensive approaches to their wellness.

Periodically throughout the UME program, SLAOs schedule meetings with students to assist them with adopting evidence-based strategies to manage their physical, social and mental well-being. Support from SLAOs is also available on an ongoing basis, as personal issues arise. These meetings are confidential. When appropriate, SLAOs provide referrals to external agencies or services.

SLAOs coordinate and facilitate several sessions related to wellness in medicine. These sessions cover topics such as dealing with traumatic events, coping with social isolation, resiliency, burnout, imposter syndrome, and more. 

Inclusion

The inclusion program aims to be a resource for all students concerns with, or interested in, all aspects of inclusion, including: accessibility, accommodations, Francophone learners, Indigenous learners, racial equity, and social equity.

Students are encouraged to navigate through the following areas for resources that may be useful to them. Please keep in mind that these will be updated as more resources are identified. You are also free to suggest resources that may be helpful to your student colleagues.

Career Planning Goals

Phase 1 – Year 1 and 2

  • Understanding Yourself and Your Career Options
  • Taking time in understanding individual values, skills, and interests related to career and lifestyle choices
  • Developing a Career Plan and Exploring Options
  • Seeking out information to help with career decisions

Phase 2 – Year 3

  • Choosing/Narrowing Down Specialties & Considering Residency Program Requirements
  • Using resources in the clerkship setting and planning ahead for electives to help eliminate options and narrowing down specialties.

Phase 3 – Year 4

  • Decision Making & Matching to a Residency Program
  • Being informed on how to create effective application packages and candidate presentation skills for the residency match, using clinical opportunities such as rotations and electives for career development, and understanding the fit between competencies and the discipline/residency requirements.

Medical Career Theme

The Medical Career Theme (Theme 6) is curriculum designed to guide students in medical career and practice decisions.  The curriculum addresses relevant aspects of professional identity and career development, concepts of wellness and financial and practice management to support practical functioning as socially accountable physicians in the Northern and Rural context. Specifically, curriculum includes theory and concepts rather than requiring the practice of certain skills or providing support and advice to students on an individual basis.

The curriculum exists through all three phases of the undergraduate medical education program (UME) and builds annually upon student experiences to support future career and practice goals.