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As part of Choosing Wisely Canada campaign, Canada’s two medical student societies release a list of ‘six things medical students should question’

Group aims to encourage medical students to increase awareness about unnecessary care by identifying six things medical students should question.

Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) and Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec (FMEQ), who together represent all medical students in Canada, today released a list of ‘Six Things Medical Students Should Question’ as part of Choosing Wisely Canada. The list identifies six targeted, evidence-based recommendations that can support conversations about what care is really necessary.

The CFMS/FMEQ list identifies the following six recommendations:

  1. Don’t suggest ordering the most invasive test before considering other less invasive options.
  2. Don’t suggest a test, treatment, or procedure that will not change the patient’s clinical course.
  3. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on tests, treatments, or procedures that you believe may be ordered inappropriately.
  4. Don’t miss the opportunity to initiate conversations with patients about whether a test, treatment or procedure is necessary.
  5. Don’t suggest ordering tests or performing procedures for the sole purpose of gaining personal clinical experience.
  6. Don’t suggest ordering tests or treatments pre-emptively for the sole purpose of anticipating what your supervisor would want.

"As medical students, it is important to learn to practice in a way that is data-driven, evidence-based, and is mindful of limited healthcare resources – but which also assures the highest possible quality of care for our patients and their families. This list provides students with a platform to ask tough questions about the role of a test or procedure in the care of their patients. This list was an exciting way for the CFMS, along with our colleagues at the FMEQ, to become a part of the already successful Choosing Wisely Canada campaign."

- Anthea Lafreniere, President, Canadian Federation of Medical Students & medical student, University of Ottawa

“Tomorrow’s physicians will need to be not only skilled and impressively knowledgeable professionals, but also leaders when it comes to managing the resources made available to them. That’s why today’s medical students are asked to become aware of this challenge starting now. The list of six things medical students and trainees should question is a first step in this direction for everyone, with the objective being to start thinking about and relying less on certain practices that are costly and not very beneficial to the patient. Choosing Wisely Canada’s STARS (Students and Trainees Advocating for Resource Stewardship) campaign helps to drive this ideology.”

- Jasmine Bisson, Pedagogical Affairs, Fédération médicale étudiante du Québec (FMEQ)

The list of ‘Six Things Medical Students Should Question’ is the culmination of a student-led effort. A student-led taskforce developed an initial list of recommendations, and distributed a survey using social media, as well as CFMS, FMEQ and school-based listservs. Nearly 2,000 medical students across Canada responded to the survey. This is the first Choosing Wisely list in Canada, and internationally, developed by students, and related to medical education.

With the release of this list, the campaign will have covered more than 160 tests and procedures that specialty society partners say are overused and inappropriate, and that physicians and patients should discuss.

To learn more about Choosing Wisely Canada and to view the complete lists and additional details about the recommendations and evidence supporting them, visit


The Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS) is the organization representing over 8,000 medical students from 14 Canadian medical student societies from coast to coast. We represent medical students to the public, to the federal government, and to national and international medical organizations. The Canadian Federation of Medical Students is the national voice of Canadian Medical Students. We connect, support and represent our membership as they learn to serve patients and society.

The “Fédération Médicale Étudiante du Québec” or FMEQ was founded in 1974 by the four medical student associations of Quebec, which are the AGÉÉMUS of Sherbrooke, the MSS of McGill, the RÉMUL of Laval and the AEEMUM of Montreal. The FMEQ’s primary mission is to represent Quebec’s four medical associations in a single, united voice. It also works to defend and promote collective interests specific to Quebec medical students, most notably through pedagogical, political and social endeavours. It facilitates communication and collaboration between its associations and its members. It establishes partnerships that help provide specific services to its associative and individual members.

Choosing Wisely Canada is a campaign to help physicians and patients engage in healthy conversations about potentially unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures, and to help physicians and patients make smart and effective choices to ensure high-quality care. It got underway initially in Ontario and has been endorsed by all provincial and territorial medical associations who have established mechanisms to support the adoption of the Choosing Wisely Canada recommendations. It is now a truly national campaign.

Contact: Karen Born
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