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Electives and Observerships


Electives are design to expose the learner to general ophthalmology clinics as well as various subspecialty clinics of the discipline. Electives are a great way to familiarise yourself with our program, and to ophthalmology as a discipline. 

We take a up to 2 clerkship elective students per week. 

Electives last for a maximum of 2 weeks and are arranged exclusively through the AFMC Portal.

We are currently only accepting 4th year medical students on elective. 


Participants must organise their own observerships by directly contacting one of our faculty and inquiring about their availability. 

Observerships afford early-stage medical students the chance to explore ophthalmology through witnessing the day-to-day practice of an ophthalmologist. Availability of these observerships might be limited.

Note about Electives

The Department of Ophthalmology does not control the Electives process

Electives are handled exclusively through the AFMC Portal—consequenly, we have no means of assisting you with the state of your application.

You must contact the Electives Assistant (contact below) for any and all inquiries relating to your elective application.


Contact Electives Assistant

Dana Brundige:

Visit AFMC Student Portal

AFMC = The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada

Please see below for useful information about doing an Elective at Queen's Ophthalmology

Preliminary planning for your elective
What do know for during your elective

Preliminary information


Preparing for your elective


Firstly, please consult our Clinical Skills Resources prior to your Elective.

These short instructional videos will give you some useful background information so that you can "hit the ground running" when you arrive at your first clinic. 

Perusing these materials ahead of time and familiarising yourself with these skills will allow you to take a more active role in your very first clinic as soon as you arrive. These materials were conceived with you in mind—sometimes you might find yourself arriving in a very busy clinic, where time for introductory teaching might be fleeting.

 Other helpful resources include:
  • Manual for Examinations and Diagnosis – Mark W. Leitman* 
  • Will's Eye Manual: Office and Emergency Room Diagnosis and Treatment of Eye Disease - Adam T. Gerstenblith
  • Basic Ophthalmology Manual(AAO) - Richard Harper
  • Fundamentals and Principles of Ophthalmology (AAO)

 Please note these books are not required for your elective, but rather recommendations if you are interested in learning more about Ophthalmology. We encourage you to check your medical school's library for these texts. 

*Note: We provide elective students coming to Queen's Ophthalmology with their very own copy this book.


Arranging your accommodations


You are responsible for making your own lodging arrangements

Here are some helpful resources for finding accommodation:


Transportation in Kingston


Transportation is the sole responsibility of the student. We cannot arrange for parking nor transportation for you.

There are multiple options for parking a car near the hospital. This being said, Kingston is a very walkable city—our hospital is one street over from the main downtown corridor, and two blocks from the nearest grocery store.


If you do require a car, please find parking resources on the City of Kingston webpage: (Note that the Chown Memorial Parking Garage is located directly across the street from the hospital, however there are multiple lots around the downtown).

As an alternative, Kingston does have a public transit system Here is a tool to help you plan your commute on Kingston Public Transit.


Where we are


When considering your options, it is helpful to recall our location:


You should be able to find many options for accommodation within 5–6 blocks of the hospital. 




The Department of Ophthalmology Undergraduate Office will reach out to you around one month prior to your elective. During this time, the Program Assistant will ask for you for the following:

  • a photo of yourself
  • your university’s evaluation form* — this will be filled out by Dr Law toward the end of your elective.

*Please note: If your evaluation is electronic, please put Dr Christine Law ( as the preceptor. 

 Dr Law does an optional "elective wrap-up" with you towards the end of your elective. This includes filling out your evaluations, going through any feedback, and answering any questions you may have. We need your evaluation prior to that time in order to complete your evaluation. 

Observership students from Queen's University will be sent a confidentiality form to complete and return to the Program Assistant.
Observership students from all other universities will be provided with a package that needs to be sent back to the Program Assistant no later than two weeks prior to their observership.

*Please note that if you are planning to observe for more than one day you will be required to complete a Communicable Health Disease Clearance Form which will need to be signed off by a physician or RN. 

During your Elective

If you are an elective student visiting from Queen's Medicine, please come directly Shauna Vinkle's office (HDH, Brock 2 corridor, room 227B) at 8:30am to complete necessary paperwork and for a tour of the department. 


If you are an elective student visiting from outside of Queen's Medicine, please report to the Security Office at Kingston General Hospital to get your hospital access. Please note: you will need to bring government issued photo ID with you. 

You will then make your way to our department which is housed at Hotel Dieu Hospital (a 10 minute walk, or short shuttle ride away). When you arrive please report directly to Shauna Vinkle's office (HDH, Brock 2 corridor, room 227B). 


If you are an observer, please contact your preceptor to find out where they would like you to go. 

Professional / business attire is acceptable for attending clinics. A lab coat is also fine according to preference, as are scrubs.

You will need hospital-supplied scrubs for the OR; these will be provided by the OR office (immediately inside the main operating room doors. The operating room at Hotel Dieu Hospital is on the second floor).

You will be provided with lenses (20D and 78D) for the duration of your elective. Other equipment will be on-hand in the lanes, or wherever you are assigned.

 Please leave your lenses in the ophthalmology resident office on MA1 at the conclusion of your last clinic.  


 For observerships, your faculty-sponsor will arrange for any equipment that you may need.

Elective students will be assigned to a variety of different clinics, including general ophthalmology, an assortment of subspecialties, the emergency eye clinic, and a half-day in the operating room. We feel that this variety is key to providing a well-rounded exposure to ophthalmology, and to providing a valuable elective experience.

You will be provided with a personalized schedule upon your arrival.

Timing: Unless otherwise specified, morning clinics begin at 8 a.m., and afternoon clinics begin at 1 p.m.. ORs typically begin at 7:45 a.m. (please show up by 7:30 to arrange your scrubs). 


For observership students, your schedule will be determined by your preceptor. Generally, this will only involve attending your specific preceptor's clinics. 

We cannot accommodate requests to work with only specific preceptors. The goal of our elective opportunities is to give students a well-rounded experience working in all our sub-specialties with a variety of faculty members and residents. 

A well-rounded elective is also in the student's best interest should they choose to apply to Queen's Ophthalmology. All residents and faculty members are part of the file review and interview process. This means that the more individuals who have worked with you, the more people can attest to your abilities.

This being said, if there is a particular doctor or subspecialty of interest to you, please feel free to let us know. While it may not be possible, we certainly try our best to accommodate specific interests while still providing a well-rounded experience.

No, you will not be covering call. You will have your own protected schedule of clinical responsibilities.

You will have the opportunity to join the Emergency Eye Clinic on the weekend with the residents-on-call and attending physician.

(The Emergency Eye Clinic runs from 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday).

Elective visitors are invited to participate in our rounds and seminars.

Observers are welcome to attend as well, contingent on the approval of the observership faculty-sponsor.


The week's teaching schedule will be shared with you in our weekly "Ophthalmology This Week" bulletin that gets emailed on Friday afternoons. 

Generally, the following is the weekly learning itinerary:

  • Diagnostic rounds
  • Grand rounds followed by seminar teaching
  • Professors' rounds 

 Other activities may also occur during your visit, eg. Journal Clubs or special rounds. Again, please consult the schedule during your visit. 

You will be provided with evaluation forms to hand out to any physician, resident, or staff with whom you work. We have colour-coded forms for faculty and residents (green), and for support staff (pink). Additional forms can be found in the Resident Lounge on MA1, as well as the nursing station on J6.

You are encouraged to remind physicians, residents, and staff to fill out these forms at the conclusion of each clinic you work, regardless of whether you have worked with them previously. 

These forms will be used as part of your wrap-up session with Dr Law at the conclusion of your elective. They will also be an important part of your file, should you apply to our department in the future, so it is in your best interest to have as many of these evaluations completed as possible.

Observerships do not involve any formal evaluation.
Evaluation Cards


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