CanMEDS Scholar

The Scholar Role


Angela Cheung 2011

Physicians are scholars. As scholars, physicians demonstrate a lifelong commitment to reflective learning, as well as the creation, dissemination, application and translation of medical knowledge.

Right from the start, beginning in medical school, the role of young physicians is to learn. As they progress along in their medical training, the acquired knowledge is applied to patient care. As learning expands and as physicians strive to master their domain of expertise, they begin to critically evaluate what they are being taught. And with this critical appraisal, physicians pursue the creation of new knowledge and become involved in the dissemination of knowledge. As teachers, they facilitate the education of their patients, families, students, colleagues and the community.

"The Scholar Role is probably the most complex of CanMEDS roles given the number of different skills that are involved. This role requires that the individual be receptive to acquiring, developing and applying new skills throughout their entire career."

- Dr. Genevieve Digby (Senior resident Internal Medicine)

This module is an opportunity to think about the multifaceted role of the Scholar in the health care setting and to become aware of the opportunities that exist to grow within this role.

In this 4 minute video Dr. Jay Engel describes his work as a Surgical Oncologist.

















When describing his work as a surgical oncologist, which CanMEDS Roles did Dr. Engel mention?


What scholarly activities did Dr. Engel mention as a part of his clinical work? How does the Scholar Role express itself in the day to day work of a surgical oncologist?


Describe the importance of each of the CanMEDS Roles in Dr. Engel's work as a surgical oncologist.

Module Objectives

After completing this module you will be able to:

1. Describe the role of physicians as scholars.

2. Identify behaviours and skills necessary for lifelong learning.

3. Explain the concept of maintenance of competence and identify ways to document learning.

4. Outline the importance of critically evaluating medical information. 

5. Identify ways of contributing to the development and dissemination of new knowledge and practices.

6. Identify skills that help facilitate the learning of patients, students and other health professionals.