When did you complete your elective in paediatrics?
Where did you do your elective?
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
What paediatric speciality?
How did you organise your elective placement?
Apply directly through AFMC elective portal: https://www.afmcstudentportal.ca/institution/uToronto#/ This is a national application scheme to complete any elective at a university hospital in Canada. You should submit an application up to a year beforehand to get a spot in the ‘lottery’ which then allows you to submit a full application to the department desired. You have to pay a fee in order to register but if you don’t get an elective placement I believe this is refunded.
Rough Idea of Costs
Roughly £300 flights. $500 University of Toronto fee and $575 AFMC portal registration fee.
What was a typical day like?
Attend at 7:45am for handover at 8am. This may last until 8:30am. Afterwards you have around an hour and a half to prepare for the ward round at 10am, which lasts around 2 hours. As an elective student you are treated the same as the University of Toronto students and are given 2-4 patients every day for which you are personally responsible. Junior residents have 3-5, and senior residents have none but are your point of call for questions. Before ward round you will have to chase up results, consults and investigations and go and assess the patients in their rooms. On the ward round you will present them, and afterwards write up progress notes and plans according to what you are told by the attending, and implement them. You will be dismissed around 5:30pm when tasks are done before the evening handover. Elective students are not expected to do night shifts. The rest of the MDT are amazing. Nurses do all the bloods and daily examinations too, and will come to you with updates and queries.
What was the best part of your elective?
Real responsibility – far more than I had ever had in the UK. Got to see a wide array of common conditions e.g. pneumonia, bronchiolitis, febrile seizures, safeguarding, first presentation epilepsy, ITP, babies stepped down from the NICU. Also got to care for children with complex and rare syndromes and multiple needs, gastrostomy tubes, tracheostomies, and help negotiate with families and explain these interventions. Other services were used to medical students and if you called up e.g. the Neurology fellow they would be very happy to talk to you! Teaching happened every day and was mandatory – you were enforced to attend for your own learning!
What was the worst part of your elective?
Sometimes the ward was quite busy, and at times I felt a little lost when seniors were diverted elsewhere. This only happened on one or two days though out of 3 weeks, and I always felt extremely safe.
Travelling, Exploring and other fun things
It was very cold in winter when I was there (as low as -30C) so bring winter boots and a good coat if you go at that time of year. Lake Ontario had frozen over which made for some beautiful views! Niagara Falls is nearby. Lots of wonderful places to eat, museums and things to see. The placement was quite full on so I didn’t do as much sightseeing as I would have liked – you will be tired out by the end of the day. For the same reason I’d recommend probably going at the same time as someone else, so you have someone to debrief with at the end of the day.
I went for 3 weeks – however I would recommend 4 (the maximum). There was always more to learn, see and do.