Linking General Internal Medicine Residency Training to Human Resource Needs and Roles in a Changing Health Landscape

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Lindsey Anderson
Heather A. Ward
Sharon E. Card


Recently, there have been frequent calls for more generalists in the health care system, including General Internal Medicine (GIM). At the same time, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons has published a report on unemployed and underemployed specialists throughout Canada. GIM residency programs aim to ensure all graduates have future employment positions that will benefit Canadians. However, there is currently little linkage between the educational and healthcare systems in terms of utilizing future health care needs to inform postgraduate training. There is a lack of consensus on how to plan future health care workforce needs. There is, however, consensus that this is important for both the population and for future physicians. Predictions must also take into account context, such as Saskatchewan's significantly rural and aboriginal population. Difficulties in health care workforce planning include economic factors, differences in physician scope of practice, and regional variations in scope of practice. To fully prepare graduates for both core GIM competencies and competencies tailored to their future practice, it is necessary for us to understand the range of scope of GIM practice in Saskatchewan. It is crucial to understand both current and anticipated perceived scopes of practice and practice opportunities for General Internists in order to plan physician resource needs and the required educational resources.