First-year medical students from the University of Manitoba’s (U of M) Max Rady College of Medicine (Rady Faculty of Health Sciences) will spread out across rural and northern Manitoba during “Rural Week” (May 27-June 2). Rural Week 2019, coordinated annually by the Manitoba HealthCare Providers Network (MHCPN), the University and rural regional health authorities, provides opportunity for 112 medical students to gain first-hand experience of how rural and northern Manitoba medical practices function. It also doubles by extolling the many benefits of working and living in a rural/northern Manitoba area.
Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) is once again an active partner throughout the week— with 35 medical students assigned to 13 communities. Communities participating this year include Brandon, Dauphin, Hamiota, Killarney, Minnedosa, Neepawa, Rivers, Russell, Souris, Ste. Rose, Swan River, Treherne and Winnipegosis. Winnipegosis is participating in the initiative for the first time!
PMH Executive Director of Primary Care and Support Services, Michelle McKay, says the week-long experience is another important part of regional recruitment and retention initiatives.
“Students participate in a variety of rural physician practices, spend time on wards and units at rural health centres, and in most cases, tag along with a ‘doc’ to see how their week unfolds,” McKay said. “We really appreciate the opportunity to highlight communities, medical facilities and sites within the health region in the hopes that some of these up and coming physicians eventually select to live and work in rural Manitoba.”
McKay adds that PMH very much appreciates the efforts of all of the physician preceptors, health-care professionals and community volunteers to ensure Rural Week succeeds.
MHCPN Project Coordinator Wayne Heide says part of the organization’s goal is to provide medical students with exposure to the diversity that exists across rural settings.
“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,” Heide stated. “For students from an ‘urban-origin’ this may be their first real experience with rural life. For those from rural areas, it’s a chance to reinforce the positive aspects of rural life and to connect them to medical professionals that have chosen to practice rurally.”
Rural Week, as part of the U of M medical curriculum, first started in 2003.
Rural Week in Killarney in 2018.