Program Structure

PGY-1 Basic Training Year

The basic clinical training year includes rotations in family medicine, emergency medicine, neurology, brain injury, psychiatry, cardiology, and internal medicine. Three months are spent in psychiatry rotations including Emergency Room Psychiatry, Addictions Psychiatry, and Fundamentals of Psychiatry. Two elective months occur during the PGY-1 year; one month for a psychiatry elective experience, and one month for a non-psychiatric medical rotation.

PGY-2 and PGY-3

The resident begins training in general adult psychiatry during the PGY-2 year, which includes rotations in inpatient and outpatient psychiatry. These rotations will occur at the four site placements (University of Alberta Hospital, Grey Nuns Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital, and Misericordia Hospital). The PGY-2 year of training fulfills the Royal College requirements for one year of training in general adult inpatient/outpatient psychiatry, as well as the requirement for developmental disabilities, and longitudinal experience in treatment of the Severely and Persistently Mentally ill. During the PGY-3 and PGY-4 years, the remainder of the Royal College core requirements are scheduled.

Residents are either assigned or may select a tutor on an annual basis for psychotherapy training. Residents begin psychotherapy training in the PGY-2 year and continue for a minimum of two years. Senior residents are encouraged to continue in supervised psychotherapy. Training in family therapy and/or group therapy, also as a supervised experience, is mandatory and may be provided at several levels of training. Training in cognitive behavioral therapy is mandatory and is provided for eight months in the PGY-2 year. There are additional opportunities for training in interpersonal, mindfulness, and couples therapies.

Expectations for resident research are in keeping with Royal College Guidelines. Work includes Resident Journal Club, Grand Rounds, and work on an individual research or QI project with a mentor.
Twice a year, entire days are scheduled for “practice” Royal College-style OSCE examinations for PGY-2 to PGY-5 residents to help improve skills at doing these exams. Senior residents additionally improve skills by acting as examiners for junior residents in the practice OSCE exams. As well, there are two multiple choice, self-assessment exams offered (the PRITE and COPE) yearly.

PGY-4 and PGY-5

The final two years introduce new emphasis in clinical experience. Increasing independence in the range and practice of clinical psychiatry is expected. In addition residents may elect to spend time in a subspecialty, in research, in a field of medicine related to psychiatry, or in a related basic science.

During the final year of the program, considerable flexibility is available for residents to pursue particular areas of interest or explore career options. The teaching/learning experience for the resident gradually progresses from rather closely supervised work at the beginning of residency, to elective, individual, self-directed, and largely independent work by the end of the program. All parts of the program include regular clinical and administrative conferences as well as individual preceptorship.

During these years the remainder of the Royal College core requirements are completed including Rehab Psychiatry (6 months) and Consultation Liaison Psychiatry (4 months). The remaining time is devoted to electives (15 blocks). The PGY-5 year also includes the Consolidation of Learning rotation.