This is an exciting time of year as many medical students begin clerkship here in Canada, and start to experience the ins and outs of hospital and clinical practice. Nevertheless, as a medical student you always have to be thinking of the next step, and for plastic surgery keeners that means a residency position. Residency training may or may not be completed in the same country where you completed your medical school training. Let’s review several key aspects of both Canadian and US Plastic Surgery Residency programs.
The Canadian System
Residency programs in Canada consist of 5 years of training. Generally, time is divided into 2 core surgery years and 3 years of specialty specific training. Canada has 11 plastic surgery residency programs, and took a total of 23 students in the 2016 R-1 match, filling all positions. Applications are made through the Canadian Resident Matching Service or CaRMS. All schools require applicants to be Canadian citizens or have permanent residency; most schools need a minimum 2-3 letters of reference, medical school transcripts, a personal letter, medical student performance report, CV, and prefer students to have done an elective at their institution. Three schools accounting for 4 spots also require French competency. Interviewees are then selected based on these criteria. Of note is that Canadian medical school transcripts for most English schools are pass/fail, so less emphasis is placed on academic standing.