55 first-and-second-year medical students participated in a medical recruitment initiative in Brandon this weekend through the collaborative effort of Health Careers Manitoba and Max Rady College of Medicine, Faculty of Sciences, at the University of Manitoba and Prairie Mountain Health (PMH). 

PMH hosted the University of Manitoba medical student Rural Interest Group in Brandon, as well as Souris Friday afternoon and into Sunday.

The Rural Interest Group (RIG) weekend promotes the benefits of practicing medicine in rural communities and available lifestyle opportunities.

 A record 100 first and second-year medical students applied to participate in this past weekend's recruitment incentive, but the weekend event could accommodate only 55 students.  Groups were split into clinical workstations at both Brandon and Souris, with 25 students travelling to Souris for their own specific tour of that town's medical facilities.

Twenty-five-year-old RIG Co-President Vienna Peters is a second-year medical student hailing from Morden, MB. At this point in her medical training Peters has her eye on Family Medicine.

"We still have a couple of years to decide where we want to specialize in, but Family Medicine has a place in my heart and I'm very interested in it, and I think I speak for the other medical students attending this weekend, a lot of them are thinking Family Medicine as well," shares Peters. "But we do have a few years to nail down what we really want in the end.  So, weekends like this are important to have exposure that way." 

This collaborative effort is initiated by Manitoba Shared Health across the province and RIG students will be experiencing these same types of recruitment tours in other locations in Manitoba, such as Boundary Trails hospital near Morden, the Inter- Lake Region and Portage la Prairie.

Peters says during the weekend in Brandon-Souris, they were able to network with the physicians in both areas, as well as participate in clinical rotations where they had the opportunity to have hands-on experience with intubation, to casting, work with echocardiograms. She says the tours give them essentially clinical exposure to the more practical side of family medicine.

As the students continue with their medical training they can hone in on a specific career path like Family Medicine, or anesthesiology, or continuing further into specialized medicine.

Peters says there is a great interest for medical students to potentially work in the Westman Region.  "We've all heard really good things about Westman and it's exciting to hear there's a need too because there lots of us who are very eager to fill those needs."

And, she adds that these recruitment tours are very valuable for several reasons.

"The first is the building and establishing of relationships between the medical students and the health region," explains Peters. "I think the collaboration can lead to better understanding of a community's health care infrastructure and facilitate networking opportunities for future employment."

"Ultimately, it can allow us to focus on our education as we move through the years and think, 'what would a rural family doctor, or a rural anesthetist want to take away from these lessons, and we can tailor our education that way."

Please listen to more with RIG co-president Vienna Peters below!