Medical Students Visit Swan River During Rural Week

Prairie Mountain Health Media Release |

Several communities along with medical facilities, sites, and programs within Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) will be front and centre during this year‟s “Rural Week” (May 19th -23rd).

Rural Week is coordinated by Manitoba‟s Office of Rural and Northern Health (ORNH) and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba and is a one-week learning experience for all first-year medical students enrolled in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. It provides an excellent opportunity for many medical students to get first-hand experience to not just rural and northern medicine, but rural and northern life. The overall goal of Rural Week is to provide first-year medical students with exposure to the work and lifestyle of a rural family physician, with the intent to promote rural medicine as a career choice.

PMH Director of Medical Services Administration, Michelle McKay, says everyone appreciates the opportunity to highlight communities and medical facilities and sites within the health region.

“Students will participate in a variety of rural physician practices, spend time at wards and units at rural health centres and in most cases, walk with a „doc‟ to see how their day unfolds,” McKay said.

“There are also lifestyle itineraries set up so the students take part in everything from fishing expeditions to recreational activities as well as learn about unique community festivals, events and claims to fame!”

Wayne Heide, Administrative Director of ORNH, says part of the organization‟s goal is to expose medical students to rural practice and rural life and show them the diversity that exists.

“Rural Manitoba offers tremendous opportunity for a rewarding career and a great lifestyle but it is only through direct experiences like Rural Week that students become aware of the possibilities. For urban origin students this may be their first real experience with rural life. For those from rural areas it is a chance to reinforce the positive aspects of rural life and to connect them to medical professionals that have chosen to practice rurally,” Heide stated.

McKay adds, “Prairie Mountain Health very much appreciates the efforts of all of the physician preceptors, health care professionals and community volunteers to ensure Rural Week meets its goal and objectives.”

As part of Rural Week 2014, there are 29 medical students visiting 12 communities within Prairie Mountain Health region. Communities participating this year include Brandon, Dauphin, Glenboro/Wawanesa, Hamiota, Neepawa, Rivers, Souris, Ste. Rose, Swan River, Treherne and Virden.

Rural Week first started in Manitoba in 2003 as an optional experience, although it was selected by 70 per cent of the Medicine class. In 2004, Rural Week was officially approved as a component of the Med. 1 curriculum and now the entire class spends one week within rural and northern Manitoba communities.