Educating medical residents at transfusion camp

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It’s not only kids who get to go to camp.

At the University of Toronto, post-graduate medical residents spend five days a year in “transfusion camp” at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Established by Drs. Yulia Lin and Jeannie Callum, this unique camp has been running since 2012, drawing 60 to 80 residents annually from critical care, hematology, hematopathology, obstetrics and pediatric hemato-oncology. Assessments have shown that knowledge for all specialties improved across the board after attending camp. Those findings were published in the journal, Transfusion, in August 2015.

A couple of years ago, the group established a partnership with Canadian Blood Services to expand the reach of the camp across Canada. The program now includes several universities and while the lectures are still delivered by experts in Toronto, amongst which we count Canadian Blood Services medical staff, they are webcast live and recorded for other sites to access. Team-based learning seminars are also shared among sites and local experts, including Canadian Blood Services medical staff, lead those discussions with their trainees.

“Transfusion is one of the most common procedures that happen in hospitals,” says Dr. Yulia Lin, an associate professor and transfusion medicine specialist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

“The best transfusion is the most appropriate transfusion, and that’s what we’re trying to teach residents. In these specialties, specifically, they’ll have to order transfusions during their residence and obtain consent from a patient for that transfusion. We want to make sure they have the knowledge to make those decisions.”

This partnership is just one way Canadian Blood Services demonstrates its commitment to education and knowledge-sharing to promote excellence in transfusion and transplantation medicine. While this partnership is still in its early stages, early results suggests that it may have the potential to be a national education program for postgraduate medical trainees in Canada. Ultimately, it may narrow the transfusion medicine knowledge gap and lead to improved transfusion outcomes for Canadians.

A variation of this article was first published in Pulse magazine in 2016.