Q. How does online, self-directed learning work for first-year PA school?
A. Online, self-directed learning. Outside of these residential blocks students have lectures online. They participate in classes, online meetings and discussions. There are also small and large group study sessions. This distance learning allows students to stay within their communities and with their families so they do not have to move away from Toronto.
Q. Where are Longitudinal Clinical Experiences (LCE) placements completed?
A. Clinical placements are completed within the student’s community, helping the student build connections & network within their own community.
Q. What happens in second-year PA school?
A. Second year is clinical clerkship. This is where PA students complete rotations in different areas of medicine for several weeks at a time. Here they function as “clinical clerks” (similar to 3rd or 4th-year medical students in rotations). There are 40 clinical weeks that are completed, with 10 total rotations. This includes primary care, ER, internal medicine, surgery, mental health, pediatrics, and elective rotations in the students’ area of interest.
Q. I noted half the rotations in 2nd year of PA school are done in northern Ontario. What is involved on those rotations?
A. University of Toronto PA students engage in a North-South Swap for clinical rotations: 50% of clinical rotations are in rural, and underserved areas of Ontario, whereas 50% are in the South. Students do enjoy the split of experiences and there are several advantages to completing rotations in rural areas:
- Less medical learners in rural rotations – this means you may be more likely to get one-on-one teaching at a community hospital/ rural hospital, rather than the clinical preceptor dividing their attention with 6 other medical students, 2 residents, and 1 fellow (or 1-2 other PA students) at large academic teaching hospitals within the GTA.
- In rural settings, it is not uncommon to have primary care providers complete shifts delivering babies (some responsibilities in OB/GYN) or doing shifts in the ER or performing some surgeries due to the lack of providers – your experience in rural may include more than your run-of-the-mill practice in a large downtown family practice.