Clinical Teaching Associates

What are Clinical Teaching Associates?

Clinical Teaching Associates (CTAs) are trained to teach students how to perform sensitive exams, including chest, gynecological, and urogenital exams. CTAs use their own bodies to teach these skills.

Examinations are conducted by a small group of students overseen by a physician tutor. During these sessions, the CTA helps the students develop a comfortable, sensitive communication style and the techniques required to ensure a safe and effective exam. CTAs will participate in two or three exams per teaching session. Strict public health protocols are in place to keep CTAs, students, and tutors safe.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of skills must CTAs have?

CTAs are good communicators and have a high degree of comfort with their bodies, since these examinations are intimate and may at times involve mild physical discomfort. CTAs must learn related anatomy, medical terminology, exam technique, interpersonal communication skills, and how to provide effective feedback.

CTAs must be able to participate in a supportive and highly professional manner to help medical students meet their learning objectives, including all aspects of verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as clinical and medical techniques, to ensure patient comfort.

What kind of training will I receive?

CTAs will become confident and certified through the IMP’s intensive training session, which covers anatomy, medical terminology, physician-patient communication, and physical exam skills. It involves team-building exercises, large- and small-group workshops, and hands-on curriculum practice using task trainers.

How often are CTAs needed?

Combined chest and gynecological exams occur over multiple exam sessions throughout the year. We schedule participating CTAs for up to six sessions.

Urogenital exams occur in the winter term. We schedule participating CTAs for up to two sessions.

CTA work requires a degree of flexible availability during the day on weekdays.

Will I be examined by students of all genders?

Yes. It is important that CTAs work with students of all genders on their technique and communication skills to ensure they deliver a safe and respectful examination.

What if I become uncomfortable?

Please let us know immediately. Your well-being and privacy is a top priority. IMP faculty and students are bound by the Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics, so all participant information is kept in the strictest of confidence.

Will I be paid?

You will receive a stipend for participating in the exam sessions. Financial remuneration is also provided for the training sessions.

CTA Story

Curious to know what it’s like to be a CTA? Read our Q&A with Audi to learn about his experiences in the role.