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  • Clinical Teaching Associates Program (CTA)

    What is a Clinical Teaching Associate(CTA)?

    CTAs are women who are trained to provide teaching on how to perform the breast and pelvic examinations and to guide medical students while this examination is being performed on her. CTAs give feedback to students on their communication skills and patient rapport during this sensitive examination.

    What kinds of skills must CTAs have?

    CTAs are women who do not necessarily have a background in teaching or in health care, but they are dedicated to the health and wellness of women. CTAs are good communicators, and have patience to teach students about this sensitive process. CTAs are intelligent, mature, and responsible. CTAs must be in good physical and mental health. CTAs must be comfortable with their own bodies and how they work. CTAs must be able to receive training, and become proficient in the protocols and teaching skills required for delivering this component of the curriculum. CTAs must be able to work as a member of a cohesive team.

    How often are CTAs needed?

    The breast and pelvic examinations take place in November, January, and February of each academic year. The sessions typically run on Thursday mornings (9:00am-12:00pm). A CTA must have flexibility in her hours to accommodate these session times.

    CTAs are not necessarily scheduled each Thursday during these months. The program already has an existing roster of CTAs, so CTAs are scheduled upon the needs of the program, which could vary between 4-8 sessions in the year.

    How long does a session last, and how many exams are performed during a session?

    Sessions range between 2-3 hours. Once the physician tutors perform a demonstration on a CTA, the medical students break into small groups and have hands-on experiences of performing either a breast exam, or a pelvic examination on the CTA. Each CTA has a total of 3 students per session. CTAs are only allowed to receive a maximum of 3 pelvic examinations per session.

    What kind of training do CTAs receive?

    The newcomer CTAs initially receive intensive training that is provided by the Island Medical Program to ensure that they have the necessary skills to guide medical students through this process. Physician tutors, nurse practitioners, and mid-wives all contribute to the training of newcomer CTAs.

    There is a refresher training session for existing CTAs that takes place every two years. This training is to help CTAs brush up on their skills, and to make sure they are up to date with any changes made to the curriculum or to the teaching methodology used.

    Frequently asked questions about becoming a CTA

    1) What is the time commitment of CTAs?

    Once a CTA has been trained she can let the CTA coordinator know of her availability during the months of November, January, and February. Based on the program needs, and the CTA’s availability, the coordinator will create a schedule for the sessions. A CTA can choose the session times that she is able to attend, and has no obligation to teach every session, or each year.

    2) Where does training and the exam session take place?

    Training and sessions take place in the clinical skills rooms at the Coronation Annex, at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. Are CTAs remunerated for their participation?

    CTAs are given an honorarium for their participation in the teaching of the breast and pelvic examination sessions. These honorariums vary depending on the type of session that they participate in.

    Next steps?

    The Island Medical Program has an already existing roster of very skilled and dedicated CTAs, and newcomer CTAs are welcome, depending on the needs of the program. If you are interested in becoming a CTA here is a general overview of what the application process looks like:

    • Fill out an application form and send to the CTA coordinator.
    • You will be contacted ONLY if the program is accepting newcomer CTAs.
    • Attend an intake session (bring along 2 references, and a resume).
    • If the intake is successful, you will be contacted to attend an information session (meet existing CTAs, and learn about the session requirements).
    • Go through an intensive 2 phase training (over 3 full days) conducted by physicians, nurse practitioners and mid-wives.
    • Depending on your performance during the training, you will be asked to join the CTA program and start teaching at the sessions in November.

    If you are interested in becoming a clinical teaching associate, please use our application form, or contact:

    Karen Basi
    Patient Programs Coordinator, Island Medical Program

    250-370-8111 ext: 12386