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COVID-19 Update No. 3 - a message from President Dr. Leo Fares (PGY4, ANAE)

Dear Colleagues, 

Maritime Resident Doctors has been heavily involved in consultation with other groups throughout this crisis. We have been speaking regularly with the NSHA, Doctors Nova Scotia, and The Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine. Most frequently, we have been working with PGME and Resident Affairs where the crux of our advocacy has been focused. We have also been in regular communication with Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC) and our fellow provincial resident associations for national discussions. 

Please see below a condensed list of issues we have been trying to address and the key messages associated with them:

  • Finishing Residents: We know that end-of-training examinations have been postponed until the Fall of 2020. The fees rendered will be carried over, and provisional licences will be issued by provincial regulatory bodies. We have been working with RDoC which is representing residents at the level of the Royal College and CFPC. There have been developments regarding changes to the Royal College examination (CLICK HERE to see the most recent update). We will continue to work with RDoC on this advocacy.
  • Educational Accommodations: As mentioned in emails from Dalhousie University, if residents have concerns about providing care to COVID-19 patients and believe they require an accommodation, they should reach out to the Resident Affairs office to discuss these concerns. Resident Affairs can help guide and support residents through this process.
  • Rotations/Electives: Many residents have experienced impacts to their clinical rotations and electives. This is magnified when we look at residents with electives that were planned for outside of the province or in communities across borders within the Maritimes. For the foreseeable future, there will be no external elective allowed nationwide. There is no end date on this prohibition. This is a national issue that we will be closely monitoring for our members.
  • CaRMS: There may be COVID-19 implications on the upcoming CaRMS matches for Medicine Subspecialty, Pediatric Subspecialty, and Family Medicine/EM.  If you are a resident that may be affected by these changes, please monitor the CaRMS website and your email for correspondence regarding potential changes. We have been involved in discussions on that National level with RDoC regarding these potential changes.
  • Resident Redeployment – MarDocs has been working in collaboration with NSHA and Dalhousie University to develop guidelines around resident redeployment. As the pandemic grows within our regions, health authorities may need to redistribute of residents to areas of need. We are hoping to have these guidelines completed by next week to help inform how residents can use their skills to best serve patients.
  • PPE: Maritime Resident Doctors continues to have the stance that resident safety is of the utmost priority, and residents will not provide care without appropriate PPE when the clinical situation warrants. This stance has been endorsed by Dalhousie University and the health authorities in the Maritimes. If there is concern about access to appropriate PPE, please reach out to MarDocs, Resident Affairs, and/or PGME. This includes concerns around universal masking guidelines in some health authorities, and access to equipment for droplet or airborne precautions. Please consult your local guidelines for appropriate PPE. Residents whose home program is in New Brunswick should have received an e-mail regarding availability of scrubs from their site Program or Medical Education directors.
  • Housing: MarDocs has been working with Dalhousie University to secure temporary, alternate housing for residents who feel they need them in order to protect others living in the same location.  Logistics are currently being worked out. Residents in Nova Scotia who believe they need alternate housing related to COVID-19 should contact the Director of PGME, Shane LeBlanc ( Residents in New Brunswick who require alternate living accommodations should contact the Medical Education Site Director's office at the site at which they are based.  Residents in PEI should contact Dr. André Celliers, the medical director.
  • Childcare: Advocacy pertaining to childcare options for residents is amongst our highest priorities. Residents have been struggling on this front and we have heard you loud and clear. We have been diligently working in the background with the Dean of Medicine and the Resident Affairs office to find a solution to this issue. We have sent out an Opinio survey to collect data on the number of residents that are impacted by childcare issues. This will inform advocacy from MarDocs, the Dean of Medicine and Resident Affairs as we continue to approach government in hopes of securing emergency childcare options for essential health care providers.

    If you have been impacted by childcare issues, please help us with our advocacy by completing this Opinio poll
  • COVID-19 Testing for Residents: Issues regarding the return of results to residents that are being tested for COVID-19 have been brought to our attention. We have escalated these concerns to the Dean of Medicine, Resident Affairs, and Public Health. For Residents in Nova Scotia, please access testing through Occupational Health (1-833-750-0632). For NB and PEI, please check with your site to determine the most expedited pathway for COVID19 testing. Our partners have assured me that they are working to return these results as quickly as possible (within 24-48 hours). If you experience a delay longer than this timeframe, please reach out.
Wellness Resources – The worst of COVID-19 hasn’t hit yet for the Maritime Provinces and there are already lots of stressors and uncertainty. Now is the time to be mindful and take care of ourselves in addition to our patients. Maritime Resident Doctors’ website has a list of resources/communications, Resident Affairs emails, RDoC updates, Employee and Family Assistance Program with Shepell. Continue to reach out to Maritime Resident Doctors for assistance and with any questions.

Please CLICK HERE to access our landing page here.

Thank you:
I am proud of and grateful to all of you for the dedication we continue to show as resident physicians. You are providing care to the sick and vulnerable in a time of great adversity. It is has not gone unnoticed by your colleagues, staff, or patients. Thank you for all that you are doing.

These times are challenging and unpredictable. Our clinical situations and work environments have changed, at times, from hour to hour. Thank you for your patience and your leadership as we work in collaboration with others during this pandemic. 

I can assure you that MarDocs will continue to advocate for your health, safety, and wellness. We will work closely with the health authorities and Dalhousie University to represent you. We will persistently voice concerns or issues that will impact residents. We will continue to be here when you need us.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to myself, members of the MarDocs executive or Board of Directors, and/or to our wonderful MarDocs staff.
Thank you again.

Elias (Leo) Fares, MD, PhD
President – Maritime Resident Doctors
PGY4 – Department of Anesthesiology, Pain Management & Perioperative Medicine

Copyright © 2020 Maritime Resident Doctors, All rights reserved.

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