Medical students had their eyes opened to rural opportunities at the annual Rural Shadowing Luncheon sponsored by RhPAP at the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine on July 16.
The 170 first-year students enjoyed presentations and lunch on the Foothills Hospital campus which provided them with an opportunity to interact with RhPAP staff like Charlotte DeLaet, physician and allied health programs coordinator. Among many other projects, Charlotte is responsible for the RhPAP Shadowing Program.
DeLaet said the response to the information about shadowing and skills day was positive.
“Even just walking through the crowd of people, I could hear people expressing their excitement,” she said. “We just opened their minds to what’s available.”
First-year medical student Stephanie Gartner agreed.
“Rural medicine wasn’t even on my radar, so I think it’s great that we have this, and it’s something that I will make my priority to include in my medical education,” said the student from Edmonton.
Gartner said she is interested in getting more hands-on, one-on-one experience by shadowing with a rural preceptor. She’s also curious about the skills days.
“I think it’s great that there’s a multidisciplinary approach with the skills days,” she said.
Her peer, Malek Hannouf, said the luncheon has already influenced his choices moving forward.
“I think it opened my eyes on how I can link my interest with medicine with a rural practice,” he said, noting his desire to specialize in oncology.
Hannouf signed up for skills weekends and shadowing opportunities.
“That’s exactly what I wanted,” he said. “I wanted to get that kind of exposure to the rural medicine.”
DeLaet and her RhPAP colleagues Shawna Banman and Lara Harries, alongside Aaron Johnston, director of rural medicine with the U of C, spent the afternoon introducing students to the rural opportunities that are available to them.
“They can go all over the province, and we’ll support them and help pay for...any kind of expenses they accumulate for their shadowing,” said DeLaet. “We help ease that for them.”