Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP Meeting in Ottawa, ON

Poster Presentation:

PedLER: Medical Students Shadowing Pediatric Residents

Danielle R. Weidman,University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children,Toronto,Ontario,Melanie L. Ostreicher,University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children,Toronto,Ontario,Shayan . Somani,Toronto East General Hospital,Toronto,Ontario,Brie A. Yama,University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children,Toronto,Ontario,Adelle R. Atkinson,University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children,Toronto,Ontario,Angela S. Punnett,University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children,Toronto,Ontario


In recent years, medical students at the University of Toronto have expressed interest in gaining early exposure to pediatrics. They seek insight into life as a resident and guidance from residents on choosing a specialty and the national residency matching process. Pediatric residents are keen to develop mentorship and teaching skills. As well, this type of leadership is encouraged by the intrinsic CanMEDS Roles of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, specifically through the roles of professional and manager.


First-year medical students will gain observational clinical exposure to pediatrics as a specialty, learn about residency life, and acquire a mentor in order to help them shape their career and explore their interests. 


PedLER (Pediatric Longitudinal Elective with Residents) is a program developed in 2012 at the University of Toronto that provides a mentorship and shadowing experience for first-year medical students with pediatric residents. Interested students and residents are randomly matched and participate in a group orientation session early in the academic year. Over a six-month period, the medical student and resident diad arrange a minimum of four half-days of shadowing during any clinical rotation. In 2014, the program was evaluated by a survey of residents at the end of the academic year. Medical students provided informal feedback.


All residents met with their assigned student at least twice, and 74% met four or more times. The shadowing experiences took place in a variety of clinical settings. Residents felt they gained valuable experience in teaching, providing mentorship, and time management. More than half of participating residents plan to continue mentoring their medical student beyond the program. Informal feedback from medical students was very positive. They enjoyed the early clinical exposure, the hands-on experience with a resident, and the mentorship opportunity. In 2015, the program will be further evaluated by formally surveying the participating medical students in addition to the residents.


This mentorship program impacted both residents and medical students in a very positive way, in a variety of domains. The vast majority of participants felt that it was a unique and worthwhile experience.