Your residency is one of the most intense and rewarding chapters in your career. This section provides insider insight into surviving and thriving.

SOR Council

Through your BCCFP membership, you automatically become a member of our Section of Residents, or SOR, which is part of the CFPC’s Canada-wide SOR Council. Its mandate is to improve family medicine training. The Council is a strong voice for all family medicine residents and has significant input in CFPC and BCCFP initiatives and policies.

The SOR is your voice within the BCCFP, enabling you to speak up about the training and professional development opportunities and practice issues that are important to you.

To learn more, visit the CFPC SOR Council page, or connect with the SOR on Twitter @CFPC_SOR

The Section of Residents Council works on your behalf, and we encourage you to consider becoming the BCCFP representative.


You will find useful nuggets of information, as well as recommendations for websites, online tools, memberships and other resources help you through residency and transition to practice. All resources were recommended by graduates of the UBC Family Practice Residency Program.

A big thank you to Dr. Alibhai and her colleagues for compiling these essential resources (2015).

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  • Top tips for survival

    Dr. Shahana Alibhai provides tips that range from pointers on planning your electives to advice on when to review your learning objectives.

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    • Plan way ahead – at least four months – when doing an out-of-province elective. The process to obtain a license in your chosen province can take some time. Keep photocopies of the following documents handy for electives and community hospitals, as they may request them: immunization record, licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) I/II exam results, CMPA registration, curriculum vitae and medical degree.
    • Finding a colleague/friend/mentor who can be your “phone a friend” is important. We all need reassurance at some point in our professional lives.
    • It’s okay to not know everything about anything. Do ask lots of questions to your peers, nurses, staff, lab technicians. Going online to a family physician forum of discussions, the Facebook First Five Years page, is a good place to start.
    • If you find yourself struggling at any point during residency or going through a crisis, don’t hesitate to call the Physician Health Program of British Columbia (open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week).
    • Before every new rotation, sit down and look at the CCFP 99 to remind yourself of learning objectives pertinent to the rotation.
    • Start thinking “practice management” during residency. For resources on this subject, the CMA website is a good place to start, and the BC Family Doctors website has information on MSP billing.
  • Which organizations should I join?

    As well as the BC College of Family Physicians, there are a number of organizations that will be helpful to you as you go through your residency and transition to practice.

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    Our Who’s Who in the Lives of Family Physicians provides an overview of organizations across BC that you will come into contact with. The descriptors below focus on some of the services recommended for residents by residents. For more information on the mandate and full range of services for each organization, click on the web links. In some cases, residents have either free or preferred rates for membership.

    • The BC College of Family Physicians (BCCFP), the professional home for BC’s family physicians, also includes membership in the national College of Family Physicians of Canada  (CFPC), which accredits postgraduate family medicine training in Canada’s medical schools and administers the MAINPRO®program for ongoing education credits.
    • Membership in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) is mandatory for all physicians practicing in BC.
    • Doctors of BC (formerly the BCMA) provides access to services, such as a variety of insurance and financial benefits, and the BC Medical Journal (BCMJ).
    • Family Practice Services Committee (FPSC) is a partnership between Doctors of BC and the Ministry of Health – programs include the Divisions of Family Practice and Practice Support Programs.
    • The Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) provides advice and assistance about medico-legal difficulties. (Membership is mandatory under the BC residents’ collective agreement. )
  • Awards and Honours

    Take note of some of the awards and honours open to you during your residency. If you are successful, awards can provide you with financial support as well as recognition of your commitment to family medicine.

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    BC College of Family Physicians (BCCFP)

    • The BCCFP provides financial awards to UBC Family Practice Residents.

    For more information and how to apply, please click here.

    CFPC Family Medicine Resident Awards

    UBC Family Practice Residency Program

    • Visit the UBC intranet for an updated list of all honors/awards.

    CMA Young Leaders Awards

    • The CMA offers medical student, resident and early career leadership awards. These exemplary leaders are recognized for their commitment to one of four domains including: political, clinical, research or educational .
    • Check out this link for more details and application information.

  • Transition to practice: Tips and helpful resources

    As you transition from resident to practicing family physician, this page will help you find a host of useful resources ranging from billing information to education resources.

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    UBC Postgrad Medical  Education: Transition to Practice

    Transitioning from being a resident to an independent clinician is an exciting time, but there are a number of practical considerations to take into account before you can successfully get out and practice.  This site is a resource that you can access at any time during your residency training.

    Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA)

    One of the most difficult things about transitioning into practice is dealing with situations that might be beyond your comfort level. Never hesitate to call the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA) if you have a question or concern about a clinical encounter. When you call, you will speak to a physician about your situation not a lawyer.

    Family Practice Services Committee

    This is a partnership between Doctors of BC and the Ministry of Health that offers:

    Practice Support Programs

    Doctors of Technology Office Supports

    Divisions of Family Practice

    Pathways BC

  • Education: Conferences

    Attending conferences is the best way to increase your medical knowledge, discuss new trends in primary care and meet new people sharing the same enthusiasm for family medicine.

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    Take advantage of your education leave negotiated with your Collective Agreement! Here are some excellent medical conferences recommended by our panel of residents.

    St. Paul’s Hospital CME Annual Conference for Primary Care Physicians

    • Conference extends over a four-day period in Vancouver, taking place during the month of November

    Family Medicine Forum (FMF)

    • This popular national convocation organized by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) takes place yearly in November.

    Rural and Remote Medicine Conference

    • Fun annual conference organized by the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC)
    • More than 150 seminars, small group sessions, and hands-on workshops offered, with a focus on rural family medicine approach
    • Location of the conference changes each year

    Practice Survival Skills

    • Annual conference offering practical skills to get you started in your career.

  • Education: Earning your CFPC credits during residency

    In order to maintain your CFPC standing, you will need to accumulate enough continuing education credits, and you can start earning credits during your residency that will carry forward into your first Mainpro+ cycle as a family physician.

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    The reporting system for this is called Mainpro+, which is administered by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC).

    Participating in Mainpro+ as a resident helps to familiarize you with the reporting system and structure, which will ease the transition from resident to active membership.

    As added incentive, up to 40 Certified Mainpro+ credits earned and reported during your residency cycle will be automatically carried forward to your first active Mainpro+ cycle.

    Visit the CFPC site to learn how Mainpro+ works and set up your account.

    Updated January, 2019

  • Education: Exam hints and tips

    When it comes to exams, hints from your peers with firsthand experience can help you prepare for the various exams required along the journey to CFPC.

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    The CFPC Examination

    You have a lot on your mind right now as you enter the first few weeks of your residency program… thinking about exam preparation is probably not at the top of your list! This section is broken down into what you need to know for the exam during your R1 and R2 year.

    Harmonized versus de-harmonized

    The CFPC examination was formerly harmonized with the MCCQEII, which meant that residents would write a three-day exam. Two days were spent writing the CFPC portion and one day would be dedicated to the OSCE. Now, the exam has become de-harmonized. This means that R2s will write the OSCE component in the fall and the CFPC portion in the spring of their graduating year.

    SAMPs? SOOs? What does this all mean?

    SAMP: Short Answer Management Problems

    • A six-hours computer-based written component
    • A case will be presented and three to four follow up questions will follow each scenario

    How to best prepare?

    In your R1 year:

    • Familiarize yourself with: Priority topics and key features in family medicine (also called the “99 topics”)
    • Study Tips:
      • Organize Academic Half-Day presentations around the “99 topics”
      • Start early in studying and collecting a database of all current Canadian guidelines (Note: you might be familiar with provincial guidelines but as this is a national exam you should know Canadian guidelines.)

    In your R2 year:

    • Practice, practice, practice! The CFPC website has practice SAMPs available, as do many of your program offices
      • Study Tip: As with any exam, READ THE QUESTION CAREFULLY. Many answers just require one word or a short phrase… you don’t need to write paragraphs!
    • CFPC Self Learning: as noted above, log onto the CFPC website and access the Self Learning program. Many of these have two to three practice SAMPs at the end of the multiple choice section.

    SOO: Simulated Office Orals

    • Designed to simulate the office environment and a typical patient-physician encounter.
    • The marker here is actually a physician trained to act out a particular scenario.
    • Every SOO has a presenting problem (the chief complaint that the physician will disclose to you at the beginning) and also a secondary problem that you must discover through the interview.
    • You are responsible for providing a diagnosis for both problems and a management plan.
    • More importantly, you must explore the psycho-social constructs and how they influence the health problems.

    How best to prepare?

    In your R1 year:

    • Watch the SOO demonstration videos on the CFPC websites – this is very helpful to get a sense of what is required.
    • Volunteer to be an actor – as your R2 group starts to study volunteer to be an actor so that you can read various case presentations and have an understanding of the marking scheme.

    In your R2 year:

    • The CFPC website has a database of past SOOs – start practicing early on in your R2 year
    • Practice SOOs for “real life” – have a timer in your family practice office to get used to what 15 minutes feels like. Also, practice ‘FIFE’ing all your patients – you will be amazed at what you can find out!
    • Tip: Don’t rush over the psychosocial component. Lots of marks are given for integrating the patient’s personal circumstances and how they influence the presenting complaint. Develop a set way of asking these questions. Some residents use the acronym FIFER.
      • Family
      • Interests/hobbies
      • Friends/social supports/relationship
      • Employment
      • Religion
    • Always think about red flags, including:
      • Driving, if there is a history of seizure disorder, alcohol/drug abuse etc
      • Are minors involved (e.g. in cases of domestic violence)
      • Is there any danger to the patient or public (e.g. need to break confidentiality and/or certify the patient)


    • Finally an exam format you are familiar with – the OSCE!
    • Thankfully (or not) we have all had to write numerous OSCEs throughout medical school and have hopefully figured out how to pass them.
    • Now that the exam has become “de-harmonized” – residents will write a two-day (versus the one-day) OSCE.

    How best to prepare?

    In your R1 year?

    Check out the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) website on Exam Preparation.

    Pay particular attention to these two links:

    • Common mistakes made on OSCE stations
    • Preparing for the OSCE station format and examples of OSCE stations

    Check out the “Candidate orientation presentation.”

    Later in your R1 year/Early R2 year?

    Remember you will likely be writing this exam in the fall of your R2 year, so start preparing in the second half of your R1 year:

    • Start a study group.
    • Gather OSCE scenarios or cases. Use books like “The Edmonton Manual,” which is divided up into various specialty sections with multiple OSCE scenarios and marking schemes.
    • Know your weaknesses – whether it be trauma-related stations, physical exam stations or even counseling a patient. Communicate these with your preceptor and use your time in the office to improve these skills .

    Exam Tip

    Get to know the SELF LEARNING program on the CFPC website. At the end of the multiple choice questions there are often two to three SAMP style questions, which are great additional practice.

    Compiled July, 2015


  • Wellness: Start early, stay well

    If you have successfully made it through medical school, you already know the meaning of stress, pressure and the incessant need to multi-task! Residency will bring about a new set of opportunities, expectations and challenges.

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    We all know how to talk to our patients about “work-life balance” but how often do we practice what we preach? This section will give you some of the tools that you may need to be successful.

    Early in Residency

    Find yourself a family doctor if you don’t already have one!

    It can be difficult especially if you are completing your residency in a smaller town to find a physician that you are not working with directly. Be sure to talk to your site director and site administrator if you are unable to find a physician for yourself.


    If you have a pre-existing medical condition that requires you to take time off for specialist appointments, be sure to let your site director and site administrator know early on.


    How do you like to unwind and relax? Is it through exercise? Listening to music? Hanging out with a good friend? If you have never tried yoga or meditation, residency might be a time to explore these fantastic ways to de-stress.

    Compiled July, 2015

  • Wellness: Resident in Distress

    The UBC Department of Family Practice Post-graduate Program website contains important information for residents in distress.

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  • Wellness: Seeking professional help

    Feeling like it is all too much? Feeling overwhelmed is not unusual so you are certainly not alone. The key is knowing where to turn to.

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    If you do not have a trusted partner, friend or family member that you can confide in, you can always speak to your family doctor.

    It is important that you communicate early on with your preceptor, site director or site administrator if you are struggling. There are many things that can be done to support you. Whether it be moving up your vacation, reducing your work load or even taking a leave of absence.

    Physician Health Program (PHP)

    The PHP is a completely confidential program that offers support and referrals for various personal and professional problems. These include: substance use disorder; workplace conflict; mental health and burn out; relationship stress; and concern for colleague.

    You will speak to an intake worker and then a physician who will help advise you on the best course of treatment. The PHP has a network of phenomenal clinical counselors in various communities. The PHP also offers support for all BC physicians, residents, medical students and their immediate family.

    All information including personal and health information and the fact that you even called the PHP is kept strictly confidential. Contact the PHP through the 24/7 phone line at 1-800-663-6729 or online.

    The UBC Resident Wellness and Resiliency

    If you are asking yourself “where should I turn?” the brochure Resident Resiliency – a Guide for Residents provides a host of resources.

    Know your rights

    The UBC Family Practice Residency Program has policies in place to ensure that residents feel they are safe. These cover issues such as: unsafe travel to and from clinic; exposure to infectious agents, environmental toxins or radiation; risk of verbal, physical, sexual assault; and walking alone after hours between the hospital and your vehicle.

    Compiled July, 2015