Urology Residency Program

Welcome to the Urology Residency Program at the University of Alberta.

 

 

HIGH CLINICAL AND SURGICAL VOLUME BASED ON LARGE CATCHMENT AREA (AB, BC, SASK, NWT, YUKON)

 

 

EXPERTISE AND RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES IN GENERAL UROLOGY AND 9 DIFFERENT SUBSPECIALTIES OF UROLOGY 

 

 

INCORPORATION OF TECHNOLOGY (2 DA VINCI SI UNITS INCLUDING TRAINING CONSOLE)

 

 

 

Interview/CaRMS Specific Information 

 

Interviews for selected candidates will be conducted online this year, during the interview period from February 28 to March 20, 2022. We will do our best to ensure we do not overlap with other institutions, and/or coordinate our efforts with them to ensure you won't have competing dates.

We have 3 CaRMS spots available this year.
We are not accepting international candidates at this time.

Notification/Invitation: Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.


Details regarding the interview process: The interview team consists of three members (including one senior resident and two faculty members - the Program Director and the Divisional Director) who will conduct an 15 minute standardized interview. This interview is a mandatory component of the application process.

Video conferencing or telephone interviews will be the only option offered this year


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Peter Metcalfe, MD, MSc, FRCSC
Associate Professor, Residency Program Director

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Tara Graham, MA
Program Administrator


 


Contact Information 
Urology Residency Program
Department of Surgery, University of Alberta
e:  urolpg@ualberta.ca
t:  780-407-5943

Welcome to Our Program

Urology is an incredible surgical specialty which promises a challenging, rewarding, and extremely satisfying career!

It is  dedicated to disease and dysfunction of the urinary tract and male reproductive organs. The breadth of pathology includes: oncology (prostate, bladder, kidney, and testicular cancer are all very common), genitourinary  reconstruction (secondary to congenital anomalies, trauma, or systemic disease), minimally invasive and robotic surgery, kidney stones, female urology(voiding dysfunction and incontinence), pediatric urology, andrology (erectile dysfunction, infertility), BPH / voiding dysfunction), and renal transplantation. 

The Division of Urology at the University of Alberta is one of Canada’s top teaching and research programs. The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry has several new teaching, clinical and research facilities. Our residents have access to some of the most modern and well-equipped facilities in Canada, including Kipnes Urology Centre where the majority of ambulatory urologic care is provided. The Urology Residency Program at the University of Alberta is five years in duration. The mission of our surgical training program is to provide an individual with a firm knowledge base as well as the clinical and technical skills necessary to practice the discipline of Urology. Upon completion of this training program, the trainee will have obtained the necessary prerequisites set by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for certification in Urology.

The strength of this program is the patient and surgical volume, with associated variety of operative and non-operative cases to which the resident is exposed. Expertise is provided in all disciplines of urology with emphasis on urologic oncology, reconstructive urology, laparoscopy / minimally invasive and robotic surgery, stone disease / endourology, urodynamics and female urology, pediatric urology, BPH, erectile dysfunction and renal transplantation. A practical exposure to urology is maintained within a strong academic environment.

The Division of Urology actively participates in clinical research as well as basic science research. The University of Alberta has an accredited Clinician Investigator Program. The Urology resident has the opportunity to enter into this program or a surgeon scientist program if so desired.

I hope you take the opportunity to explore our program further.

Sincerely,

Dr. Peter Metcalfe, MD, MSc, FRCSC  
Associate Professor, Residency Program Director
Division of Urology
Department of Surgery, University of Alberta


Our Program

The Urology Residency Program at the University of Alberta is fully accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Currently, the Division of Urology consists of 14 residents and 18 teaching faculty members. The mission of our five-year program is to provide the resident with a sound knowledge base as well as the clinical and technical skills necessary to practice the discipline of Urology. Upon completion, the trainee will have obtained the necessary prerequisites set by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for certification in Urology.

Urology Resident Research Day 2018

Program Highlights
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Center of excellence in reconstruction, endourology, uro-oncology, MIS and transplantation.

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Spend time in the recently opened $40 million Dianne and Irving Kipnes Urology Centre (DIKUC) with 32 exam rooms, 6 cystoscopy suites, 1 lithotripsy suite, 2 urodynamic suites, 4 minor procedure rooms and a 10 bay recovery room accommodating approximately 55,000 patient visits per year.

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Simulation training available including dry labs, wet labs and an endourology simulator.

 

Established robotic surgery program with 2 robotic platforms in use since 2007.

Recognized leader in the use of laparoscopy, robotics, lasers, cryosurgery, radio frequency ablation and image‐guided therapy.

Strong focus on basic science and clinical research in pediatric urology, reconstructive urology uro-oncology, photodynamic therapy and laser technology.


Residency at a Glance

Learn about each year of the program with an overview of each year.

Year 1

The first year of the Urology Residency Program is in the Surgical Foundations Program run by the Surgical Foundations Program Director and Program Administrator. The objective of this first year is to give the resident a strong foundation in the basic principles of surgery.  During this time the resident will have amassed sufficient knowledge to successfully complete Part II of the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination and the Royal College Surgical Foundations Examination (SFE). You will have EPA's in both Surgical Foundations and in Urology.

PGY1 consists of clinical rotations in:

  • Adult Urology (16 weeks)
  • General Surgery (12 weeks)
  • Pediatric Urology (4 weeks)
  • Nephrology Consults (4 weeks)
  • Emergency Medicine (4 weeks)
  • Selective (8 weeks) (Choose 2, 4 weeks each: diagnostic radiology, critical care medicine, internal medicine)
  • Vacation (4 weeks)

ATLS and PALS courses are completed during the PGY1 year and according to article 10.06 of the governing PARA agreement all residents shall be reimbursed by the Authority for 100% of the course fees incurred for successfully obtaining "Life Support" courses that are deemed necessary by his/her Program Director and have been approved by the Authority.  Courses required by our program are as follows:

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
  • Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS)
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
Year 2
PGY2 is comprised of rotations in:
  • Adult Urology (20 weeks)
  • Vascular Surgery (12 weeks)
  • Pediatric Urology (8 weeks)
  • Intensive Care (12 weeks)
  • Vacation (4 weeks)
Year 3

The final three years are spent on the clinical Urology services of the University of Alberta Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Misericordia Hospital, Stollery Children's Health Centre and the Northern Alberta Urology Centre (NAUC).  The main adult teaching units are the University of Alberta Hospital and the Royal Alexandra Hospital, and the NAUC.

Clinical rotations in Urology offer training in all aspects of adult and pediatric urology (urologic oncology, laparoscopy, stone disease/endourology, urodynamics and female urology, pediatric urology, BPH, and erectile dysfunction renal transplantation).  Responsibility is graduated; however, with a small program and a large clinical volume operative experience is gained early.

 

PGY3 is comprised of rotations in:

  • Pediatric Urology
  • Urologic Oncology
  • Renal Transplant
  • Female Urology
  • Endourology
  • Ambulatory Urology
  • General Urology
  • Andrology
Year 4
PGY4 is comprised of rotations in:
  • Pediatric Urology
  • Urologic Oncology
  • Renal Transplant
  • Female Urology
  • Endourology
  • Ambulatory Urology
  • General Urology
  • Andrology
  • Elective
Year 5
PGY5 is comprised of rotations in:
  • Pediatric Urology
  • Urologic Oncology
  • Renal Transplant
  • Female Urology
  • Endourology
  • Ambulatory Urology
  • General Urology
  • Andrology

During these rotations, the resident will be focusing on the specific educational objectives for those rotations. However, they will still participate in all clinical activities taking place at the rotation site.

Teaching Hospitals

We are a fully accredited program that follows the guidelines set out by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Our program operates at multiple locations.

University of Alberta Hospital 

Royal Alexandra Hospital 

Misericordia Community Hospital 

Kaye Edmonton Clinic, Dianne and Irving Kipnes Urology Centre

Stollery Children's Hospital 

UAH and STARS helicopter

Videos Showcasing University of Alberta Urology

Video created by one of our Urologists, Dr. Lucas Dean.

 

AHS Tour of the Dianne and Irving Kipnes Urology Centre (formally the Northern Alberta Urology Centre, NAUC)


Frequently Asked Urology Questions

What are the best things about your specialty?

Urology is a challenging specialty that combines an exciting and diverse operative experience with an active office practice. Of all surgical specialties, urology offers the most diverse surgical experience. Operative techniques include laparoscopy, robotics, open surgery, endoscopy, prosthetics and microsurgery. Urology is at the forefront of a number of technological advances including diagnostics, lasers, focal therapy (cryosurgery, radiofrequency ablation, high intensity focused ultrasound) and robotics. Similarly, our patient population is quite diverse involving all age groups and both genders. An added bonus in urology is the strength and quality of your colleagues. Urologists tend to be both humorous and enthusiastic. In general, we are fun to work with!

What are the worst things about your specialty?
As is the case with all other surgical specialties, urology is dependent upon operative resources that are, at times, limited in a publicly funded health care system.
Why did you choose your specialty?

I have never met an unhappy urologist who was disappointed with his or her career choice. This is a very rewarding discipline. The patient population and disease processes we deal with are diverse. Our treatments are efficacious. Urology incorporates a healthy mix of both surgery and medicine.

What types of clinical cases do you commonly see?

Urology encompasses both adult and pediatric populations. Urologists can chose a general practice or focus their efforts in one of the many urologic subspecialties. These include pediatric urology, genito-urinary reconstruction, transplantation, oncology, endourology (stone disease), minimally invasive surgery (laparoscopy and robotics), infertility, incontinence/female urology, andrology (erectile dysfunction), and research. Surgical cases range from minimally invasive surgery to open surgery and from endoscopy to microsurgery.

Briefly describe a typical day.

Every day is unique! One day may be spent in the office consulting with patients while the next might be spent in the ambulatory clinic performing minor procedures such as vasectomies, cystoscopy and shock wave lithotripsy. Operative days could involve the endoscopic removal of kidney stones from a half-dozen patients or devoting the entire day to removing a cancerous kidney with a tumor thrombus extending into the heart. Variety indeed!

What kind of lifestyle can I expect in Urology?

Lifestyle in any surgical or medical practice depends on the individual physician and how they chose to run their practice. For the most part, the lifestyle of the average urologist is very good. Only a very few emergencies necessitate a return to the hospital after daytime hours. The on-call requirements of a urologist specializing in renal transplantation can be more demanding.

Specifically, how does your specialty accommodate family life?

Again, lifestyle depends upon the type of practice that one chooses. That being said, the average urologic practice brings with it a good quality of life and affords valuable time with your family. There are numerous examples in Canada of multiple generations of urologists in a single family.

Range of incomes?

The median Alberta Health billings are approximately $500-600,000/yr.

How do you see your discipline changing over the next decade?
The discipline is becoming more technically orientated by the day.  Numerous alternatives now exist to traditional open surgery: laparoscopy, robotics, cryosurgery, lasers, radio frequency ablation and image-guided therapy.  In the future, molecular techniques will become more important in diagnosing and prognosticating different diseases.

Frequently Asked Residency Program Questions

What are you looking for specifically in an impressive candidate?
We look for a well-rounded individual with a genuine interest in urology who has exemplary interpersonal skills. This individual must be intelligent and at the same time practical.  We are also interested in students that are not afraid to get involved, participate in patient care and join in the health care team.
What can a candidate do to become an appealing applicant to your program?

We highly recommend that any student interested in urology perform an elective or selective in our program. This is important not only for us to see the student but also for the student to be able to experience first hand what our program has to offer them.

To be competitive in the CaRMS match it is also recommended that an applicant to Urology complete a small research project. Any member of the Division of Urology would be more than happy to assist a student with a project.

How is your residency program organized?

Urology is a five-year training program.  The first year is spent in Surgical Foundations are comprised of general surgery, urology, ICU, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, and selectives (which can include cardiology, internal medicine, nephrology, diagnostic radiology, and emergency medicine). 

The remaining four years are devoted entirely to urology with rotations  in all of the subspecialty areas within urology.

What is your residency program’s orientation and focus?

Our goal is to provide a well-rounded training experience that will produce a competent urologist capable of practicing as a solo consultant.

What is the availability of experiences in subspecialty areas during training?
The Division of Urology has fellowship trained surgeons in every subspecialty area of urology. As such, our residents gain tremendous experience in all areas of urology.
Are there elective opportunities during residency training?
Selective opportunities (from a list of optional rotations) exist during the PGY-1 year. Two blocks of elective time is provided in the PGY-4 year. Electives in PGY-4 may be spent at the University of Alberta, outside institutions/universities or community settings.
What is the on-call schedule during each year of residency?
All urology rotations involve home call at an approximate frequency of 1:4 to 1:6. Call during off-service rotations in Surgical Foundation years (PGY1) is typically in-house performed at a frequency of 1:3 to 1:4.
What distinguishes the U of A program from other programs?
Our program is relatively small with close interaction between faculty and residents. There is a large clinical volume with tremendous operative experience. We have a tremendous laparoscopic and robotic experience in our program. U of A is one of the few programs across the country that trains the residents in robotic surgery. We are also a center of excellence in reconstructive urology, endourology oncology and transplantation. We are generally well resourced when compared to many other centers.
Who can we contact for more information or to set up electives?

The Undergraduate Office of Surgical Education will assist in providing contact information for surgeons in order to arrange hours for the 12 hour electives associated with MED517 in Year 1 and MED527 in Year 2. Email specsurg@ualberta.ca.


Specifically, is there a list of residents whom we can call or email?
Our residents are very receptive to answering any questions a medical student has about the program. Although the resident on call at the University Hospital or Royal Alex Hospital is available through hospital locating (operator), we encourage students to contact the Program Administrator first.

How competitive is it to get in, and then to succeed in your field?
Urology, like all surgical subspecialties, is a competitive field. There are ample opportunities to succeed in this discipline; however, success is ultimately going to be determined by the individual and not the training program. We will provide a strong surgical and clinical foundation from which you will have every opportunity to grow and succeed. Typically the majority of qualified applicants match to urology.
Is there active and/or required research in your residency program?

Each resident is required to participate in clinical (or basic) research throughout their five years of training. Ideally a resident would complete a project each year and present at a regional urological meeting (Prairie Urological Association Meeting or Northwest Section of Urology). For those interested in pursuing in depth research training, sent at a regional urological meeting (Prairie Urological Association Meeting). For those interested in pursuing a greater depth research training, there is the opportunity to complete a Masters or PhD in Experimental Surgery through the Department of Surgery Surgical Scientist Program or the Clinician Investigator Program.


What role does research play in your career?
This really depends upon what type of career you decide on. In general, research will play a greater and necessary role if one chooses an academic career path. It is usually an expectation that a surgeon in an academic practice will participate in research and publish their work. Alternatively, in a community urologic practice, research is not usually a necessity for the urologist. This doesn't’t mean that community urologists can’t participate in research projects, but it would typically not be a priority for most.

What local, national or international conferences would be of benefit to candidates interested in your residency program?
  • Prairie Urological Association Meeting
  • Canadian Urological Association Meeting (CUA)
  • American Urological Association Meeting (AUA)
  • Western Section of the AUA Meeting
  • Urology Grand Rounds (Fridays during academic year)

Resident Testimonials

We asked our residents what they like about Edmonton, their highlights of the program, and one piece of advice for applicants about the interview process. Here is what a few of them had to say.
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What do you like about Edmonton:
It's a city large enough to satisfy most foodies and shopaholics, but without the constant traffic, huge cost of living, and lack of parking at hospitals that exist in other larger cities. If you are thinking of investing in a home for yourself or your family during your 5-year residency, you could definitely pull the trigger here in Edmonton. We are also a few hours aways from the mountains, so whether its hiking in the summer, or skiing in the winter, there are tons of ways to stay active.

What are the highlights of the program for you: 1. Camaraderie between the residents as a team, working together and supporting each other through five intensive years of training
2. Collegiality between residents, students, fellows and staff. I chose urology because it is a fun surgical specialty, and I think this is reflected in our staff. They genuinely enjoy working and teaching, and are definitely not stressful to be around.
3. Heavy hands-on learning with phenomenal surgical exposure, so that by the end of our residency, we are basically independent in the OR, requiring assistance only during complex and multidisciplinary cases.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: Focus on the positives, and don't let one mistake bog you down! If you missed one question someone asked you, wrote an order wrong, brought the patient bed in the OR the wrong way, it's okay! Nobody will remember it in the long run, and just continue to try and grind it out until the end. Someone will for sure notice your efforts, and it will all pay off in the end.

Dr. Betty Wang (R3)

 

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What do you like about Edmonton: I live by Whyte ave and I think Edmonton is under-appreciated. There is lots to do typically (COVID has made that hard but during my elective here it really was awesome). The food scene (even during COVID) is unreal. There is probably more mom and pop shops in Edmonton than anywhere else I have lived at. This city is a small business city and as such you get unique food experiences you wouldn't get anywhere else!

What are the highlights of the program for you:

  • Amazing camaraderie among residents and staff
  • Excellent OR exposure early
  • Program cares about the opinions of residents and actively tries to improve the program regularly

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: My advice is talk to residents, reach out to us or others and have your questions answered. I remember CaRMS being very very stressful and I am sure it will be even more stressful given COVID in some ways. I would tell you to relax but thats easier said than done. Just reach out to residents, ask them about their experience and ask about why they love their program.

Dr. Nik Mookerji (R2)

 

shirley guan

What are the highlights of the program for you: Excellent training program with great people. While almost all Urology programs in Canada are very strong, what pushed U of A over the top for me was the people. Both in terms residents and staff surgeons. I found my time in Edmonton was a blast and I had fun working with and learning from everyone here. The personality fit was very important to me and the culture here is less formal and there is plenty of laughter. Most importantly, the resident group is very tight knit and supportive. It is not unusual for the day team to stay late and help out the on call resident so as not to leave them swamped. It's a great feeling knowing that your co-residents have your back.

What do you like about Edmonton: Lots of outdoor recreation opportunities. Great food and drink scene. Summertime with daylight until nearly 11pm.

What are the highlights of the program for you: High volume and acuity of surgical patients. Exposure to all subspecialty areas. Strong resident cohort, very supportive team environment.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: Be yourself and focus on how you fit with the group when choosing rank list (5 years is a long time)

Dr. Ben Beech (Recent Graduate)

 

Alex Bain and Betty Wang

What do you like about Edmonton: Beautiful river valley and Edmonton is a young city! Amazing restaurant scene, music scene, and tons of different exercise clubs and mountain biking trails to use.

What are the highlights of the program for you: The camaraderie amongst all our residents, very supportive environment. Really incredible exposure to all areas of Urology and great operative experience.

What is one piece of advice that you want to share with applicants about the interview process: Be genuine--you're working so closely with each other for 5 years that we want to really get to know you. Everything is a team mentality.

Dr. Alex Bain (R3)