Aidan MacDonald

Aidan MacDonald

Aidan MacDonald is a fourth-year Biology and Biochemistry student who participated in a summer student program at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, where he had the opportunity to shadow an emergency physician and participate in various research activities.

Aidan has wanted to be a physician for as long as he can remember; he is interested particularly in rural medicine, in which he could support communities in more remote regions of Canada, and in emergency medicine, which appeals because of the diversity of the work involved. With support from the B.E.S.T. Project Fund, Aidan attended the Keenan Research Summer Student program at St. Michael’s Hospital, working in Dr. Brodie Nolan’s lab in the emergency department.

Part of Aidan’s role in the lab included working with two medical students on a team performance measurement tool called T-NOTECHS, the Trauma Non-Technical Skills program. They conducted a review of relevant team-performance tools in medical literature and a critical appraisal of the tool itself.

Aidan explains, “This gave me great exposure to the field of research, specifically emergency medicine research. I also gained experience in scientific literature review, data extraction, scientific writing and the publishing process. The two medical students I worked with were not only highly knowledgeable and great teachers, but also very friendly and supportive of my future endeavours in medicine.”

Another key element of the program was the access it offered to seminars, workshops and networking events hosted by physicians, residents, researchers and other members of the scientific community at Unity Health Toronto.

Aidan was particularly appreciative of a workshop on applying to graduate and medical programs in Canada, something he plans to replicate for fellow Bishop’s students. Other highlights of the program were a webinar aiming to educate junior investigators about Indigenous health and the unique problems faced by Indigenous communities, and a panel discussion on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aidan also participated in the hospital’s first staff and resident ‘Skills Day’, in which he had the chance to experience the event as a subject and participant. He acted as a model for the ultrasound station as physicians practiced their technique and assisted with a variety of other stations as a volunteer, gaining his first exposure to clinical medicine.

This hands-on experience was a defining moment of the summer for Aidan. “The event was my first exposure to the clinical side of medicine and it was very inspiring and informative to see the staff and residents at work learning and training,” he explains. After spending the summer immersed in the world of emergency care, Aidan feels more than ever that clinical medicine is the path he wants to pursue.