OVERVIEW – NIAGARA STREAM
The Niagara General Surgery residency program is based at the St. Catharines Site of Niagara Health. The program offers a wide range of clinical activities and experiences within a community setting. The program is home to five residents, one in each year of training with visiting residents throughout the year. Eight faculty in St Catharines run two surgical teams and there are growing faculty numbers throughout Niagara Health. The residents and faculty work closely together and get to know each other well throughout the course of the program. The collegial culture is combined with robust clinical exposures through a full range of busy surgical services. The residents are supportive of each other and remain connected to the Hamilton program throughout their training.
Dr. Ryan Fielding
General Surgery Program Education Lead
St. Catharines Site
1200 Fourth Avenue, St. Catharines
Phone # 905-378-4647
A significant amount of training in the Niagara stream takes place at Niagara Health (NH). NH is a regional healthcare provider with multiple sites and a growing network of community-based services. To learn more about Niagara Health, please visit their website here: https://www.niagarahealth.on.ca/site/about-us
Niagara Health is a proud academic partner affiliated with McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. Niagara Health fosters a culture of support for medical education and resident success. To learn more about academics and research at NH, please visit the following sites:
Academics: Niagara Health Academics
Research: Niagara Health Research
HOW TO APPLY TO THE NIAGARA STREAM
Candidates applying for position in the McMaster General Surgery Niagara program through the Canadian Residency Matching Service will be assessed based on the content of their letter of application, the strength of their reference letters, their academic record as reflected on their medical school transcript, and the demonstration of their interest in our surgical training program when interviewed. We do look for candidates who understand community-based general surgery training and understand what our program can offer.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM AND NIAGARA STREAM
FIVE YEARS OF TRAINING
General Surgery rotations occur at the St. Catharines Site & various sites within Hamilton. Details about the Hamilton sites can be found here Exposure to ICU, pediatric surgery and endoscopy is required and there are a variety of elective opportunities available throughout the McMaster’s distributed medical education network. All rotations are held in St. Catharines unless otherwise indicated.
- 6 blocks of General Surgery
- 2 blocks of Internal Medicine
- 1-2 blocks of selective or surgical subspecialty
- 2 blocks of Pediatric General Surgery (Hamilton - McMaster Children’s Hospital)
- 1 block of rookie camp (education sessions)
- 5 blocks of General Surgery
- 2 blocks of Trauma Surgery (Hamilton - Hamilton General Hospital)
- 3 blocks of ICU
- 3 blocks of Endoscopy
- Possible Choices: Community or International Electives, Pathology, Vascular Surgery, Head & Neck Surgery, Thoracic Surgery (Hamilton - St. Joseph’s Hospital) or Research
- 2 blocks of General Surgery
- Up to 8 blocks of General Surgery & 2 blocks of Hepatobiliary Surgery
- Research (optional)
YEAR FIVE - THE CHIEF YEAR
- 10 blocks of General Surgery rotations at all 3 sites (Hamilton - Hamilton General Hospital, Juravinski and St. Catharines Site)
- April to June – Acute Care Service with dedicated time to prepare for the Royal College exams.
Incoming residents will follow the Competency by Design (CBD) framework in accordance with McMaster University’s General Surgery Program requirements, which includes frequent summative and formative evaluations. Residents are required to complete a Faculty Evaluation at the end of each rotation on the MedSIS system. Residents will not be able to retrieve evaluations completed on the MedSIS system until the appropriate Faculty Evaluation is completed. All evaluations of faculty members remain anonymous and are critical for use in improving the educational experience of rotations.
Niagara residents are invited to participate in a yearly Anatomy session held at the Michael G. Degroote School of Medicine in Niagara. This session allows residents and faculty to thoroughly go over the human anatomy in a lab with a cadaver to help better understand different procedural skills in surgery.
Practice oral exams occur twice a year for all residents. These practice oral exams are used to assess knowledge and to develop skills in exam-taking abilities for residents.
CAGS EXAM (CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF GENERAL SURGERY)
Occurs annually in December and is an assessment of knowledge and helps residents benchmark their progress in the program.
SURGICAL FOUNDATIONS EXAM (FORMALLY PRINCIPLES OF SURGERY)
This occurs during the spring of the second year of the program. Residents must apply for the Surgical Foundations Exam one year prior to taking it. Details about this exam and the application process can be found on the Royal College website RC Exam Dates
ACADEMIC HALF DAY - VIRTUAL ATTENDANCE MANDATORY
General Surgery Grand Rounds, JHCC (4th Floor Lecture room) – Wednesdays @ 0730-0830. Rounds take place from September to June.
PGY1-2 Surgical Foundations Program - Wednesdays @ 0900-1200 - organized by Dr. Darren De Sa & Dr. Laura Nguyen. These sessions will help in preparation for the Surgical Foundations exam. PGY2 residents participate in thse sessions until the SF Royal College Exam, after which they participate in the GS teaching listed below.
PGY2-3 Teaching sessions - Wednesdays @ 0900-1100
PGY4-5 Teaching sessions - Thursdays @ 1500-1700H
General Surgery Resident Research Days are held annually and are an opportunity for residents to showcase their research projects to an audience of their peers and supervisors, gaining valuable research skills by participating in and presenting their own original research and QI projects.
Resident Affairs provides confidential support for all residents and fellow and assists learners as they manage issues with or within their program, hospital, university or home. They will act as an advocate and will support or represent the learner during these times. Niagara has a wonderful and dedicated Director of Resident Affairs Dr. Aidan Jeffery email@example.com
Each resident is required to complete a minimum of two research projects by the end of the five years. The research projects are expected to be presented at the annual Program Research Day. Support is available for Niagara residents through the Niagara Regional Campus research team and the Division of General Surgery Research Director, Dr. Elena Parvez, Fellow residents, staff members and consultants in related disciplines such as ER and ICU are excellent resources for potential project leads and mentorship in your research skill set.
One-on-one interviews between each resident and the Regional Education Lead occur twice annually. These are a time for residents to discuss challenges and opportunities to grow in the program as well as focus on career directions. Dr. Fielding and all program staff have an open-door policy throughout the year and are always happy to hear from residents with questions, concerns and feedback.
Several journal clubs are held throughout the year, guided and facilitated by residents and faculty.
Postgraduate Training Programs
McMaster University Postgraduate Programs are integrated in cooperation with the affiliated teaching hospitals and therefore there is no primary base hospital. We provide access to electronic medical resources for residents at all hospitals. The following hospitals are used for mandatory or elective rotations: Hamilton Health Sciences (McMaster Division, General Division, Juravinski Division); St. Joseph's Hospital; Niagara Health St. Catharines Site, other community hospitals.
The Juravinski site, Hamilton Health Sciences is a Centre for general surgery and gastrointestinal surgery including hepatobiliary and colorectal and oncology. This site also is affiliated with the Juravinski Cancer Centre.
The McMaster site is the Childrens' Hospital and pediatric surgery as well as pediatric trauma.
The General site, Hamilton Health Sciences is the location of the Adult Trauma Centre, cardiovascular surgery, and the largest combined ICU in the region.
St. Joseph's Hospital is a busy hospital for general surgery with a special interest in minimal access surgery and is the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery (CMAS). Subspecialty services such as head and neck, thoracic and urological surgery are located at St. Joseph's Hospital.
The Niagara Health St. Catharines Site is the primary site for the Niagara residency program and provides core and elective rotations.
Community hospitals involved in the program include Oakville-Trafalgar, Brantford, Joseph Brant, Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Timmins and Thunder Bay.
Visit our Hamilton Education Overview Page for details about the Hamilton program.
Simulation & Education
Niagara has a robust Simulation program that uses a variety of Scenario Based Simulation and enhanced skills training through the use of simulation equipment to help residents develop specific skills, expand their clinical interests and engage in educational experiences in a collaborative manner between McMaster University and Niagara Health.
The shared space and facilities of the Niagara Regional Campus of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and the dedicated educational space at Niagara Health provides many teaching opportunities for interested residents including teaching clinical skills, clerkship orientation, and clinical teaching on specialty rotations. Surgery residents are surrounded by a culture of learning and collaboration as Niagara is home to residency programs in Family Medicine and PGY3 Enhanced Skills in Emergency Medicine as well as a site where many visiting residents come for rotations from programs based in Hamilton and across the country. Niagara offers many hands-on and experiential learning opportunities in addition to leadership and teaching opportunities while completing residency. The Niagara Region is a beautiful location to call home during your residency training and throughout your career. For more information on the unique characteristics of the municipalities within Niagara, see Niagara Region Municipalities