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Enjoying the view at Katepwa Lake after a shift at the ANHH

Practice in the Valley

Family and PREP experience in Fort Qu'Appelle

So much has happened since my last post!

I completed the last class required for my Bachelor of Science at the University of Regina, spent Canada Day in Clear Lake, MB catching up with family friends, and began the Physician Recruitment Agency’s Rural Externship Program (PREP).

The externship is a collaborative initiative between Saskdocs, the SMA, and the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and is meant to provide a work experience for medical students between their second and third year of studies whilst exposing us to practice areas outside of Saskatoon and Regina and see what rural medicine in Saskatchewan is all about. I am lucky to have been matched with Dr. Nermeen Youssef in Fort Qu’Appelle and, fortunately, my family has a cabin at Katepwa Lake which is a short 20 km from the Fort so I have had the chance to live at the lake since I began my experience Monday. Dr. Youssef is a family physician that provides service to residents of Fort Qu’Appelle, Lestock, and the Balcarres area as well as attending the Emergency Department at the All Nations Healing Hospital (ANHH) in the Fort.

Since beginning my experience I have done, seen, and learned so very much under Dr. Youssef’s preceptorship. It's truly remarkable how much learning can take place with five days of practical, hands-on learning. Our time has been spent between the Primary Health Clinic and ANHH in the Fort, as well as clinics in Lestock, and Balcarres. The ANHH is equipped with an Emergency Department, several inpatient beds, a Womens’ Health Center, lab services, and traditional healing practices. Facilities in both Lestock and Balcarres provide long term care in addition to primary care and lab services, among others. I spent my first day in the ANHH Emergency Department seeing all kinds of patients with acute health concerns and learning the ropes of a day in the life of a working physician. This was the first time I have had the chance to use the pink ER forms, patient charts, lab requisitions, and other documentation. I am happy to get a handle on these documents before beginning JURSI this August.

Throughout the week we held clinics in the Fort, as well as Lestock and Balcarres. The patients came in for a multitude of reasons: from routine physicals to med refills to SGI documentation that needed filling to new health concerns. All of these patients are new to me so I enjoyed the opportunity to apply what I have learned in medical school thus far: take a good history and physical (trying to not omit anything important by accident!). As I continue to practice I find myself forgetting less and remembering all kinds of things from class that I thought I had forgotten. I find that it’s best to be confident and trust in what I have been taught to get the job done, and so far this strategy is working for me. Of the many cases I have seen this week a few stand out: most notably a gentleman who just needed someone to listen to him and help him with the things in his life that trouble him and provoke his anxiety. He thanked me tirelessly for listening and for the referral to the councilor in the area that we provided. I could see the improvement in him from when he arrived to the time that he left. It was remarkable, and I feel like I made a real difference in this man’s life.

Today I was back in the ANHH Emergency and saw a many patients with complaints ranging from chest pain, to cough, to lacerations that required suturing. I look forward to the coming three weeks with Dr. Youssef; there is so much left to learn, and I can’t wait to continue. The last two years have truly been a humbling experience as patients trust me to be involved in their circle of care. I am so honoured to live in Saskatchewan and have the opportunity to learn and practice the craft of medicine with such a supportive college and preceptors.

Thank you for reading.

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