Thanks to Rob Woods for this:
CanMEDS is a term unfamiliar for many current practicing physicians.
The term stands for: Canadian Medical Education Directives for Specialists. It was born out of a concept called ‘Outcome-Based Education‘. The idea is that you should first decide what the product you want is, then design your assessment tools to measure those competencies and finally develop the curriculum and teaching methods to help trainees achieve those assessment tools. It makes a lot of sense, and unfortunately we have been doing it the other way around for a long time.
The CanMEDS Competency Framework was developed by all of the stakeholders to determine what Canadians wanted out of their physicians. These concepts were developed into the 7 domains. Medical Expert is the central domain, however 6 other competencies significantly influence being a medical expert. The other competencies are: Communicator, Collaborator, Manager, Health Advocate, Scholar and Professional. On the surface they seem a bit abstract, but it is just as important to teach and assess these so called ‘soft competencies’ as it is to teach the Medical Expert role.
The College of Family Physicians has also incorporated CanMEDs into their core competencies.
To help make these other ‘soft skills’ more obvious to teach, a pocketbook was developed called CanMEDS teaching springboards: Emergency Medicine. We are the first specialty to be developing such a handbook, and are leading the way in implementing CanMEDS into daily teaching. [There is a downloadable copy on the ‘net for now] If you have a chance to flip through the book, you’ll see that teaching the non-medical expert roles is something we have an opportunity to do multiple times per shift. You just have to look for the teachable moments.