Re: Nonrecognized qualifications

Evert Tuyp raises some interesting points in his letter about nonrecognized qualifications (BCMJ 2018;60:240). I appreciated the frank and honest editorial comment attesting that the BCMJ doesn’t have a robust policy on the topic. I wonder whether the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, or for that matter governing bodies such as the College of Family Physicians of Canada, have robust policies either. As this issue clearly affects patient safety, public trust, and physician accountability, one would expect them to.

Any policy should provide evidence that nonrecognized training being used in Canada is validated, ethical, and indeed appropriate for patient needs. I have seen many patients who tell me that they have “already seen the specialist” in a particular town, while I am aware that there is no such specialist there. What they had actually seen were proudly displayed certificates of training that is not recognized in Canada, and patients are often completely unaware that this is the case. Perhaps part of any College policy should be a requirement for such physicians to obtain informed written consent from patients acknowledging that they understand when a certificate and training is not recognized in Canada.
—Chris Sladden, FRCPC

This letter was submitted in response to “Nonrecognized qualifications.”

Christopher Sladden, MBBCh, MRCGP, FRCPC. Re: Nonrecognized qualifications. BCMJ, Vol. 60, No. 7, September, 2018, Page(s) 346 - Letters.

Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.

About the ICMJE and citation styles

The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.

An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.

BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:

  • Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
  • There is no period after the journal name.
  • Page numbers are not abbreviated.

For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit

BCMJ Guidelines for Authors

Leave a Reply