Home for the Summer

A homebody can be described as someone who likes to stay at home. It’s kind of what the Home for the Summer program is all about. It encourages medical students from rural communities to think about practicing there and enticing those from urban settings to think about what a new home could be like.

“It was a great opportunity for me to participate in Home for the Summer in Brandon, which is my home community. The physicians and program coordinators were all very welcoming, supportive, and encouraged me to learn. I know I greatly enhanced my clinical skills during the seven weeks I was in Brandon Regional Health Centre, and I really enjoyed being able to put what I had learned during my first year of medical school into practice,” said Carrie Bergen, a medical student originally from the Brandon area.

The Home for the Summer Program, operated by Manitoba’s Office of Rural and Northern Health, pays medical students to work in medical clinics and hospitals throughout Manitoba to gain clinical experience and to expose them to rural medicine.

The diverse experiences, typical of most rural physician practices, struck Bergen.

“I got to experience a wide variety of areas of medicine, including CancerCare, orthopedics, general internal, and emergency medicine. I would definitely recommend this program to people wanting to gain some clinical experience during the summer.”

Cole Kubay echoed that sentiment after seeing rural physicians in action, saying, “it was very interesting to see the wide scope of practice for many of the physicians that work in the Selkirk area.”

During the program, the students must complete a research project drawing on their experience in the community. They then present their findings to a panel of physicians with the winners receiving a small cash prize.

One of the award winners, Cailyn Cheasley, who spent the summer at the Selkirk Regional Health Centre studying drug overdose, said, “I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect summer experience. Home for the Summer allowed me to connect with amazing local physicians, work with other health care professionals, and practice my clinical skills, all in my home community.”

Doctors Manitoba played host to those presentations along with a special dinner to celebrate everyone’s experience. The panelists included Dr. Shannon Prud’homme, President of Doctors Manitoba, Dr. Holly Hamilton, Dr. Don Klassen, Dr. Ira Ripstein, and Dr. Tamara Buchel.

Doctors Manitoba and Manitoba’s Office of Rural and Northern Health were pleased to work together to help show medical students that their work and ideas can flourish in rural Manitoba.

Reconnecting with her rural upbringing was crucially important to two-time participant Allison Furness.

“I could not think of a better way to spend my past two summers than with the Home for the Summer program. I grew up in a rural town so it was great to return to my roots – and the experiences I had with the program were invaluable. Rural medicine is so cool, and thanks to HFTS, I definitely could see myself doing this as a future career.”

Homebody, indeed.