I am Bob Menzies, a family physician in Morden, a town of 7,500 in southern Manitoba. I did my undergraduate prerequisites at the University of Winnipeg, then medicine at the University of Manitoba graduating in 1976, followed by a family medicine residency at the University of Manitoba. I returned to Morden where I was born and raised, and have practised my whole career there.
My first encounter, probably like most, with the Medical Council was when I had to write the exam. We did not need to write it to practise in Manitoba as we had graduated from medicine in Manitoba, but it was necessary to enable licensure in the other provinces. The exam caused much anxiety, but was completed (successfully) and I quit thinking about the Medical Council. Although I often wondered who it was who had signed my diploma, and what kind of a person or physician they were.
I became involved in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba, and the Medical Council became one of the organizations we heard about, as it was responsible for the qualification exams. But it was not until I became a representative on the Medical Council from the Manitoba College that I really gained an understanding of the Council.
I am not sure what I bring to the Council - old man from the sticks and not really in touch with universities and politics. But I have great respect for what the Medical Council of Canada brings to the medical profession in Canada and to the people of Canada.
Firstly, the Council and staff bring an integrity to the examination process that surprised me. There is care to ensure that prospective physicians are deemed competent, that the examinations test and measure the levels of knowledge that are needed to practise in Canada. At the same time great effort is made to not disadvantage those who did not train in Canada. A great deal of work goes into making the exams fair to all.
Secondly, I am amazed at the expertise the staff and volunteers who make up the exam committees have developed around the examination process, and how they can tailor questions to determine what level of competence a candidate has in any particular discipline.
Thirdly, I am excited at the enthusiasm the staff bring to doing this work and ensuring they do the best job possible.
Finally, I feel lucky to be able to rub shoulders with both the board and the staff, and to have had a glimpse of the work they do. I feel confident in our examination process and the standards it sets for Canadian physicians. And I am glad I do not have to write the exam again.
Dr. Robert Menzies joined the Medical Council of Canada as a representative from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba. He has been a member of the Legislation Committee since he joined Council in 2006.