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Clinical Training PGY1-PGY5 Years

The McMaster Psychiatry Postgraduate Program (Hamilton campus and Waterloo regional campus) is a Royal College Accredited five-year training program, the completion of which leads to eligibility for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s Specialty Examination in Psychiatry. 

Our program has embraced the new Competency Based Medical Education (CBME) model, having implemented most elements a year prior to the official launch, in July 2019.  Thus, we are well underway with CBME!

Entry to each campus is through separate CaRMS matches. Both programs are highly flexible and responsive programs that encourage and support personal initiative.

Pgy-1 Year:

The first year of training is designed to orient residents to our program, McMaster and the local health care systems.  Groundwork is laid to develop the psychiatric knowledge and skills required for more advanced psychiatric training.  Additionally, exploration & appreciation of the interface between physical medicine and psychiatry is reinforced, with a focus on the investigation and management of medical presentations relevant to Psychiatry.  This provides training vital to learners’ preparation for the LMCC-II exam. 

The first year includes the following rotations:

  • Transition to Discipline (orientation to Psychiatry & our Program) – 2 blocks
  • Medical Team for Inpatient Psychiatry – 1 block
  • Emergency Psychiatry – 1 block
  • Addictions – 1 block
  • Family Medicine – 1 block
  • Emergency Medicine – 1 block
  • General Internal Medicine – 2 blocks
  • Adult Neurology – 1 block
  • Pediatric Neurology – 1 block
  • Selective – 1 block
  • Elective (may be research) – 1 block

Pgy-2 Year:

The second year of training further builds on the groundwork of knowledge & skills necessary to practice Psychiatry, including building of psychiatric assessment skills, development of differentials, implementation of management plans for patients of low to medium complexity and performing of risk assessments.  Expertise in emergency psychiatry is developed in preparation for progression to the level of a senior resident by third year. 

Rotations during the Pgy-2 year include:

  • General Adult Inpatient Psychiatry – 6 blocks
  • General Adult Outpatient Psychiatry – 6 blocks
  • Anchored Selective – 1 block partnered with 1 block at start of Pgy3, for total of 2 blocks

Residents choose from a wide range of opportunities to experience working with marginalized, vulnerable populations and/or further their work in research. 

Pgy-3 Year:

Third year allows for learning in the more subspecialized areas of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry as well as Geriatric Psychiatry, each for 6 blocks.

Third year residents work as seniors within the emergency psychiatry department, leading the clinical team along with the staff physician, with lots of opportunity for teaching of junior learners.

Pgy4 & Pgy5 Years:

The final two years of residency promotes advanced psychiatric skill development and exploration of individual interests & potential career paths.  Developing increasing autonomy & preparation for transition to practice becomes a focus particularly in the fifth year.  Residents continue to gain experience within emergency psychiatry longitudinally.  For residents within the CBME model, elements to be individually incorporated into these two years include:

  • Chronic Care Psychiatry – 6 blocks
  • Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry – 3 blocks
  • Collaborative Care Psychiatry – 3 blocks
  • Elective (which may include research) – 14 blocks

Academic Curriculum

Clinical training through all years of training is delivered in core curriculum seminars per yearly cohort. Within this model, core academic curriculum that is complimentary to the clinical rotations of the stream is delivered.  The interactive and dynamic core curriculum seminars take place during weekly, protected academic days.  Academic Days remain protected during the latter half of PGY5 for individual study in preparation for the Royal College exam.

In the Waterloo Regional Campus, four times a year the Pgy2-5 cohorts come together for dynamic, interactive learning sessions in the unique and highly acclaimed One Room Schoolhouse curriculum.

Weekly department-wide Grand Rounds provide high-caliber, interesting presentations on current and relevant topics.  In addition, rotation-specific rounds are held at each teaching centre.

Rotation Selection

At McMaster, residents choose the location and supervisor for each rotation.  This allows residents to individualize rotations to their learning needs, style and interest.  With the diverse clinical programming available in our multiple teaching sites, this provides tremendous variety and choice available to our residents.  Residents are NOT assigned to meet clinical needs.  

Residents are able to complete horizontal electives in clinical, research, educational, and administrative endeavours throughout the PGY2 to PGY5 years.

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