Communications - News at Medicine - May 2019 - ​The Gathering Rounds

​The Gathering Rounds
May 2, 2019
MD students have a new place to go to talk openly about what life is like for them as a medical student.
A new initiative by the Office of Student Affairs called The Gathering Rounds aims to provide a safe, structured and positive environment for medical students to talk. The monthly, drop in sessions will be facilitated by medical students with support from the Office of Student Affairs.
"Students will have the opportunity to share highs and lows of med school, to connect over common experiences, provide positive support and problem solve in an open, caring, non-judgmental environment,” said Michelle Snow, the Faculty of Medicine’s student wellness consultant. “The aim is to make medical students feel less alone, to foster an environment that promotes wellbeing in the face of adversity and to help destigmatize issues within medicine.”
Eight pre-clerkship MD facilitators have been trained and the first session is planned for Monday, May 6. “They’re an amazing group of students who are open to leading the way as these gatherings are for students, by students,” added Snow, who will be providing the support.
Colin Ash (class of 2022) brought the idea to Snow a few months back. “I’ve experienced my own struggles in the past and the best way I have dealt with them is through the support of friends and family. I’ve also dropped into a few formal peer support meetings in the community and I was astounded by the level of comradery and empathy that was shared amongst the attendees.”
Ash noted a rising awareness of issues faced by medical trainees and medical practitioners. “The most recent Resident Doctors of Canada survey revealed that 52 per cent of residents are experiencing symptoms of burnout, and more than 75 per cent experienced some form of harassment or intimidation over the past year,” he said.
“A recent wellness survey of MUN pre-clerkship medical students revealed a strong desire for some form of peer support. While we have the fantastic Office of Student Affairs and various wellness initiatives within the medical school, I have not seen a space within which we can be vulnerable amongst our peers outside of tiny islands within our classes.”
The Gathering Rounds is to open to all medical students, not just those who are struggling with their mental health, however. Topics will include such things as The Highs and Lows of being a Medical Student and Imposter Syndrome.
Ash says they’ve had a lot of interest and positive feedback from the student body, and he thinks the initiative is timed well with the current atmosphere of positive change and wellness within the Faculty of Medicine.
 “While we don’t expect that the medical profession will change overnight, we believe that fostering an environment that welcomes open and frank discussion about what we face within medicine will eventually lead to positive change, especially as the younger generations assume leadership roles within the profession.”

Photo (l-r): Student facilitators Na Nguyen, Andrew Dunsmore, Brittany Bolt, Stephanie Malone, Colin Ash, Sarah Devereaux, Josh Lehr and Logan Slade. Photo credit: Jennifer Armstrong, HSIMS