Frequently Asked Questions

Is my student likely to be somewhat interested in my area? How would they get assigned? Are they going to be a [insert specialty] like me?

Students will be shown your opportunity in a catalogue along with about 1000 others, all of which they can "rank" based upon preference for place and date.   Their criteria for ranking will vary a lot; some will be related to future career plans, and some because of general interest.  All students are encouraged to rank only specialties they are interested in, and to choose areas that would benefit them in their residency or career.  This may be as simple as "I want to be a surgeon, and I have ranked a surgical selective." Or, you may have a student who says, "I want to be a family doctor, and I ranked a surgical selective to understand my patients' postop issues better."

Important tip:  Early on, ask your student what they were hoping to get out of your Selective.  They already have thought about this, and you will understand them better after having this conversation.

My student missed a clinic/rounds/OR/other event. What are the implications of this?

This subject is dealt with on the Policies page.

How do I evaluate these students?

You will be given a standard evaluation form electronically at the midway point and the end of the Selective.  Faculty development through a website just like this one will also be provided.  

Please see the Evaluation page.

I see descriptions of Assignments on this site. I don't know anything about teaching this. Do I have to mark it?

The students have 2 Assignments to complete over the entire course.  The purpose of the Assignments is to apply some of the concepts they have learned in class, in the clinical world, and then write about their observations.  You do not have to teach any material, nor will you be marking anything.  The students will be handing them in to us, and they will be graded by our people at U of T.

The student may ask you questions that pertain to the Assignments.  When they do this, they are asking you as an expert in your own practice and community, for information about how things "work" in your setting.  You should be able to answer the student's questions easily, or indicate when you don't have enough information to answer.

The Assignments are in 2 areas:  Health Equity and Health Systems.  The students are asked to describe a Health Equity issue that they observe for an individual or group in your setting.  As an example, they may wish to describe how a socially disadvantaged person has to take extra steps to access the same level of care as a more fortunate individual.  They also have to describe a Health Systems issue, relating to a process of care.  For example, they may ask how a primary care practice tracks its smokers' progress towards quitting.  For all these issues, you would only be asked to be a resource to explain your personal perspective on them, and to direct them to any data that are known in your setting that you think might be helpful.  If you have questions about the Assignments, please don't hesitate to contact us.


If I am worried that my student isn't doing very well, can I check with you to see if I'm on the right track?

Yes!  When you have concerns about a student's performance, it is a very good idea to notify us right away.  We will be able to advise you of strategies you can use to help the student, and if there are very serious concerns, we can support the student on our end as well.  When you think there may have been a Professionalism issue, please notify us as well.  We and the student are better off hearing early rather than late, and we can do more if you send us more information.

My question isn't listed. Whom do I ask?

You can reach us directly at the Contact Us link above.  You can also reach your Departmental Representative on the page link above.

What am I supposed to teach?

We encourage you to think of yourself as "coaching" the student towards being able to work independently, rather than "teaching" your content area.  Of course, you're welcome to teach the student anything you think is important about your content area.  The key areas for these students are the "work skills" of being an independent resident - so there is less emphasis on knowledge, and more on Communication, Collaboration, Managing time/space/resources, Advocating for individuals and groups, and being Professional.  Their Evaluation is based on these domains, which are areas that all supervisors in all settings should feel they can coach with the students.

What is the background of these students - what have they learned?

These students have completed all their core clinical rotations as clerks, in Anaesthesia, Family Medicine, ENT, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, ER, Internal Medicine, Surgery, OBGYN, Psychiatry, and Paediatrics.  They have learned all the basic knowledge and skills they need in each discipline.  In addition, they have done ALL their electives when they come to you.

In your setting, you can count on them having a substantial base that allows them to work in your content area.  However, they're not graduates - they're "near-graduates".  They don't have the ability to work completely unsupervised, but can carry out a number of tasks on their own and report back to you.  

The best practice is to check with the student about how comfortable they are doing what you've asked of them.  If you feel they have over-estimated their ability, feel free to intervene and coach them on how to "raise their game".  Increase your oversight until you think the student has improved sufficiently.  Give the student frequent feedback on how they are doing!


What other commitments do the students have at this time? Do they have seminars, half-days, etc?

Students are with you full time for the duration of the Selective.  Unlike other rotations you may have had students for, students here do not have other teaching, seminars, exams, or other commitments during the Selective that would require them to leave the clinical environment.  You can get the student involved in the work of your setting without concern about interference.

The flip side of this is that students may have "gap" times when you are not doing the usual work of your setting.  For example, if you don't have an office on a Tuesday morning, the student may not have any automatic activity to take its place.  In this type of situation, you can be creative - do you do other tasks that the student can join you for (eg. surgical assisting, chart reviews, nursing home visits, etc.), or do you have a colleague the student can join, or facility (eg. testing centre, allied health service) where the student can learn useful information about your patients?  Feel free to engage partners for the student's benefit.