Sixteen wide-eyed post-secondary students had the opportunity to learn about rural health care in the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority during a day-long bus trip on March 2.
The tour, which centred around the eastern area of the region, had half a dozen stops, including the Selkirk Regional Health Centre, and provided nursing, occupational therapists and physiotherapists the opportunity to see what health care is all about in rural settings.
“This is the first time we’ve done something like this,” IERHA human resources manager Aiden Kahanovitch told The Interlake Spectator.
Julian Sanchez, a fourth-year nursing student from the University of Manitoba was among the tour group, and he was amazed by what he saw at places like Pine Falls, Sagkeeng First Nation and Beausejour.
“It’s just the perfect mix of excitement and social interaction,” the 26-year-old said. “What really stood out to me is that there’s a vibrant community that’s just outside the city. My whole life, I’ve spent the majority of it in the city, including most of my academic career, so really this has been quite the gift to be taken on this bus tour.”
In Pine Falls, which has a strong need for nurses, the students learning about the community, and at Sagkeeng First Nation they embraced a community tradition, taking part in a smudging ceremony.
During their final stop at the SRHC, the students were taken on a tour through the facility.
Sanchez left Selkirk brimming with excitement and thinking about potential future
“In every facility I just thought this is a place that’s fertile in terms of opportunity. You can set down roots and start a family, or you can work really hard and make enough money and move back to the city. The opportunities are endless for nursing and allied health … and positions are going to be in big demand as well,” Sanchez said. “We have a dynamic population. We have people moving in and out of the area and that creates a really unique dynamic and we also need a really unique health system to accommodate for that.
“For nurses, this is an amazing place to try to take advantage of because we are here to care for people and they need us out here.”
The planning for the one-day event began back in November, with six clinical team managers and two directors helping co-ordinate the trip. A portion of the travel and food costs covered by the Manitoba Healthcare Providers Network.
Moving forward, Kahanovitch noted the IERHA is looking to expand its tour to include a look at the western Interlake area along Highway 6.