10/21/2013 06:39 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

U of Saskatchewan medical students stick up for school despite probation status

SASKATOON - Students from the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine are sticking up for their school.

This comes after the school was put on probation earlier this month by the committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools and the liaison committee on Medical Education.

That decision was outlined in a letter to the college after it was determined that the school was in non-compliance with six of 139 standards that schools across North America are expected to follow.

John Shulte, vice-president external with the Saskatchewan Medical Students' Society, says the issues outlined by the committees relate more to the administrative structure of the college, and not to the hands-on skills of students.

Kylie Riou, a third-year student and past president of the Saskatchewan Medical Students' Society, says the worry was that the accreditation decision would lead to a poor perception of students' abilities.

Current society president Lena Xiao says students are involved with getting things back on track.

"We have students who sit on the accreditation working group as well as students who sit on the dean's advisory committee," she said.

Xiao added that reports about issues with the college's research output and student test scores were not related to the school's accreditation status.

Shulte said the students want to reassure people in the province that they are still receiving a high quality education.

"I feel like a degree from the University of Saskatchewan is just as good as a degree from anywhere across Canada," he said.

Shulte said the issues are common for schools across the country.

"Not one school in North America is adhering to all 139 standards and all schools in Canada have gone through this probation process in the past," he said.

Shulte said a concern rose about student supervision when attending patients was not about students' medical ability.

"There's been a couple anecdotal events where it's gotten extremely busy in the hospital and so work has been delegated from the attending physician to the resident and from the resident to the (student). So while they may have been clinically competent to handle that issue, they weren't legally competent," he said.

Shulte added that addressing that concern will likely require lowering the ratio of students to residents. He added that he thought satellite sites opened in Regina and Prince Albert would help with the issue.