Many residents must navigate their training with challenges not faced by their peers, whether physical, cognitive, or psychological. Some challenges, such as how to navigate the halls of a busy hospital in a wheelchair, are more visible to others, but many challenges are invisible.
RDoC is dedicated to supporting its members throughout their medical training by promoting a culture of wellness within PGME. Some residents choose to disclose their disability to their residency program and are accommodated and mentored throughout their training. Others struggle silently. If you are facing an added challenge, whether physical, cognitive, or psychological, you may be interested in the following commonly asked questions:
Am I alone?
Although there are no concrete figures around the number of trainees with recognized disabilities, there has been a recent trend toward inclusiveness in medicine, which means that there are now more trainees with disabilities than ever before.
How can I contact other residents with disabilities for peer support?
The Canadian Association of Physicians with Disabilities is a resource for all physicians and trainees with disabilities. This group fosters meaningful connection and mentorship between members. Membership is private and free to any trainee who wishes to connect. You can learn more at www.CAPD.ca.
Does my university have resources to help with my accommodation?
Many Canadian universities have dedicated supports such as “accessibility services” or “disability resource centres” with specialized teams that are designed to find creative solutions to suit your disability needs. Accommodations are arranged on a case-by-case basis involving many stakeholders at the institution. Flexibility and creativity are sometimes required to find optimal solutions. Please note that these resources are university-specific.
Must I disclose my disability?
This question has many nuances. As physicians, we are required to provide safe patient care, and depending on the nature of the disability, this may require additional supports from the institution. Furthermore, one must always consider personal health to be of utmost importance, which again may require additional supports from the institution. A university can only offer accommodations up to the point of undue hardship if it is aware that such accommodations are needed. If you are unsure over whether to seek additional help, you may always reach out to your local College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Priorities for 2017-2018
- Develop a resident-centered position statement on accessibility and accommodations provided in PGME.