Resident Panel Q&A

New Member Orientation 2016: Resident Panel Q&A

When we embark on any journey, most of us like to have a good map – or at least some good advice – to get us where we want to go.  This is where the advice of others becomes especially important.  Because wherever it is you want to be, there is usually somebody else who has been there, or found a way to get there.  It’s not learning we get from a book or class, but from the experience of a friend or colleague who offers answers to our questions.

For each year’s New Member Orientation, Resident Doctors of BC includes a resident panel, R1s and up who come from a variety of specialties and a variety of background experiences, sitting on stage to answer questions from the house and to describe their own journeys into medicine.

This year’s panel was especially rich in variety and wisdom: Dr. Vik Ahluwalia (R1, Family Medicine), Dr. Fatima Allibhai (R3, Psychiatry), Dr. Gagan Dhaliwal (R1, Family Medicine), Dr. Odion Kalaci (R1, Pediatrics) and Dr. Sarah Mah (R1, Obstetrics & Gynecology).

As you will hear from the audio links recorded the day of the Orientation, most questions concerned wellness issues—gym memberships, discounts for these and for various public parks and recreation areas, along with the all-important topic of how to achieve rest and balance in busy lives.

There were also questions about what to do if it is clear there has been violation of the Collective Agreement.  Suspecting a violation is only part of the process; members need to know how to verify and, if a violation has taken place, how to deal with it in the most appropriate way.

Critical, too, was the advice panelists offered to their colleagues based on their personal experiences of residency, along with a wealth of information about each resident doctor’s own programs—sharing between colleagues that all encouraged new members to take advantage of and make a habit of carrying into their future working situations.

It is especially inspiring to hear each panelist describe mentorship opportunities which helped them along their chosen path in healthcare, or guided them into another specialty closest to their heart.

You can listen to all this on our website.

Resident Doctors of BC seeks to promote its members’ professional, personal and financial well-being. We offer information and resources for a variety of topics that might come up during residency, including mental and emotional support, legal matters, academic issues and grievances, benefit plan, parenting during residency, moving, living in BC, important contacts, advocacy tools, and finding health services.

You can explore each of these sections on our website, or call the office for more information: (604) 876-7636 or toll-free: 1-888-877-2722.

We take care of you, so you can take care of patients and your own personal and professional lives, too.

Top questions when starting residency

Recently we polled the membership via Rounds to ask: What were the top 3 most important questions that you wanted answered when you first started residency? Here are some of the commonly asked questions that we received.

What benefits do I get through Resident Doctors of BC?

Residents receive MSP coverage, life insurance, and extended health (including PharmaCare, vision care, massage therapy, chiropractor, etc.) and dental coverage. In addition, residents receive access to counseling and financial advice services through Employee & Family Assistance ProgramPhysician Health Program and Financial Literacy Counsel. Resident Doctors of BC has also negotiated long-term disability plans that residents can purchase, we also have discounts for yoga, gym memberships, and more. In addition, Resident Doctors of BC offers numerous professional development workshops throughout the year, hosts multiple social events, and provides funding for program-planned social events.

How do I get my call stipends and meal allowances?

Residents must submit their call shifts through the call stipend website. The absolute final deadline to submit calls is 30 days after the end of the block. Meal allowances are determined and paid based on the call that are submitted – in-house or converted are eligible for meal allowance. Call stipends and meal allowances are paid via direct deposit along with your regular salary. For detailed instructions on submitted calls, see the call stipend page on our website.

How much time off am I entitled to, and how do I get it?

Residents are entitled to 4 weeks (20 working days) of vacation and 2 flexible days off each academic year – unless a resident goes on leave or is working part-time, in which vacation and flex days are pro-rated. Requests to use vacation time or flex days should be submitted to the Program in advance.

In addition, residents are also entitled to 5 consecutive days off during the 12-day period encompassing Christmas and New Year’s. These 5 days do not affect vacation or flex days, but rather are made up of the lieu days for the three statutory holidays, and 2 weekend days.

What are the rules for scheduling work hours?

Rules regarding scheduling are addressed in Article 19 of the Collective Agreement. They are summarized as follows:

  • Scheduled duty assignments must be separated by no less than 8 hours.
  • There should be at least two 24-hour periods of non-working time every two weeks.
  • There should be no more than two consecutive nights on call every seven-day period.
  • When on overnight call, if you are unable to get at least 4 consecutive hours of uninterrupted rest, you are entitled to a post-call day off and should be relieved of duty by 10am.
  • In-hospital calls can only be scheduled to a maximum of 1 shift every 4 nights (1:4), and 1 weekend shift every 4 weeks (1:4).
  • Out-of-hospital calls can only be scheduled to a maximum of 1 shift every 3 nights (1:3).
  • Some programs have an approved variance that allows residents to be paid for additional call shifts.
  • If you have scheduled vacation for Monday thru Friday, you should not be scheduled for call during the weekends before and after your vacation. Vacation also reduces the number of days you are on service, and therefore reduces the number of days for which you can be scheduled for call.

How much will I get paid?

A remuneration schedule is provided in Article 21 of the Collective Agreement. In addition, on February 1, 2016 residents received an Economic Stability Dividend wage increase of 0.45%, followed by a 0.5% increase on April 1, 2016. Further scheduled increases are noted in Article 21.

Residents who work call will receive a stipend of $50 for out-of-house, evening and weekend day call shifts, and $100 for in-house and converted call shifts. Note that there is a maximum number of calls that can be performed each block – any resident choosing to disregard this limit will not be paid for the additional call shifts.

Residents who work eligible call shifts (in-hospital or converted) will receive $81.78 per month for a meal allowance. The monthly meal allowance is paid out bi-monthly in the amount of $40.89.

Residents who work a regular shift on a statutory holiday will receive 2x their normal rate, and 2.5x times their normal rate for Good Friday, Christmas Day and Labour Day.

How do I get LTD (long-term disability) insurance?

LTD is a mandatory requirement for residents. Resident Doctors of BC has negotiated two LTD plans customized specifically for residents. Details of these plans can be found in the member section of our website. However, as LTD plans are individually purchased, residents can choose to buy their insurance anywhere.

What does all the information on my pay stub mean?

Check out the diagram under the question “what is on my paystub” in the Pay FAQ.

Where do I find a family doctor for myself?

The Physician Health Program has a service called Doctors for Doctors and can assist you with a referral.

What opportunities do residents have to get involved with Resident Doctors of BC?

Residents can get involved with the association by becoming a member of the Board of Directors (elections happen annually in July-August), joining one of our many internal committees, becoming a program representative, or participating in any events that require resident volunteers, such as Resident Awareness Week. Email the office for more details about any of these opportunities.

What support is available to me in terms of financial advice, counseling, and continuing education?

In addition to the individual support Resident Doctors of BC provides in matters relating to the Collective Agreement and your residency training, we have also offer numerous professional development workshops each year on such topics as taxes, incorporation, and parenting. You can get free financial advice through Financial Literacy Counsel and MD Financial Management, and counselling support through Employee & Family Assistance Program and Physician Health Program. Information about Continuing Professional Development can be found on UBC’s website, as well Doctors of BC and CMA often offer training workshops for their members.

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author: Melissa Nilan