July was an amazing month. I had the pleasure of taking part in the PREP Program in Fort Qu’Appelle under the direction of Dr. Nermeen Youssef, a family physician who provides service for residents of Fort Qu’Appelle, Lestock, and Balcarres.
Time spent in the valley was my first real taste of clinical medicine and I now eagerly await the start of my first rotation later this month when I become a clerk (JURSI). We saw many patients of all types of backgrounds with varied complaints ranging from topics I have seen before to topics I had the pleasure of seeing for the first time. Academically, PREP was very useful in that I learned therapies for conditions I was unfamiliar with, and also I could reinforce what I had already learned in class for those that I was familiar with. On a personal level it was equally as rewarding in that I was able to meet and get to know all kinds of people including patients, nurses, and other staff to learn who they are, where they come from, and what life is like in a rural community.
Friends and family have asked what my favourite part of the entire program was and I must say it is not an easy choice. However, if I had to choose I would say my favourite part was getting a chance to see what long-term follow-up with a patient is like. In some cases I saw the same patient three, sometimes four times during my four weeks in the valley. They knew my name and I knew theirs; this was truly the first time I could build a relationship with patients. I felt a sense of common achievement with my patient when we would open the EMR to see that their labs were closer to target based on a medication regimen that we mutually decided upon.
Walking out of the Fort Qu’Appelle Primary Health Clinic on my last day was bittersweet. On one hand it meant my time in the valley was now through and I would no longer be able to see the staff I had come to know in the Fort, Lestock, & Balcarres or follow up with the patients I had spent the last month getting to know. On the other hand a brand new adventure awaits: clerkship/JURSI. I am very excited to delve deeper into the world of clinical medicine with the start of my first rotation coming up shortly. There is an immense amount to learn, but after my time spent with Dr. Youssef I now feel more confident in my ability to interact with patients and to apply what she and my education thus far has taught me.
To any student reading this post I urge you to consider applying for the PREP program in the summer of your second year, you will definitely not regret it.
I also enjoyed the company of family and friends at my cabin throughout my month in the valley. My sister, who traveled home from Alberta, along with friends and family, enjoyed a fish fry using our catch at Mirond Lake from a few months ago, campfires, cribbage, and catching up. The combination of this along with PREP was the perfect denouement to an overall excellent summer. From here, I have began preparing for my first rotation, am continuing to pursue my solo certification in Skydiving, and am keeping in touch with old and new friends. I look forward to what the next two years will bring and I am forever grateful for organizations like Saskdocs, the SMA, and the College of Medicine for offering programs like PREP and supporting us through our education during the academic year as well as in the summertime.
Thank you for reading.