Doctors mentor medical students

Four physicians at the Weyburn Health Centre mentored Saskatchewan medical students this summer.

Dr. Mary McCollam, Dr. Katie Fong, Dr. Karen Bigland and Dr. Jessi Warren were the four physicians mentoring medical students. Dr. Pardeep Dhillon is also working in the clinic during the summer as a locum.

The medical students included Dr. Randi Ramunno, resident; Dr. Bulelwa Mpisi, fulfilling a clinical field assessment for the Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons; Andrew Wang, community experience; and Lynsey Martin, Junior Undergraduate Rotating Student Internship (JURSI).

For Andrew Wang, the mentorship program is one step closer to completing his medical schooling and becoming an anesthesiologist.

"You get to see a little bit of everything and I am happy with what I got to see," said Wang, who left Weyburn to return to the University of Saskatoon on Friday after spending two weeks at the Weyburn Health Centre.

"I was in surgery quite a few times, I had one session with Dr. Suberu in psych and had a session with home care which was pretty cool because you don't get to see that very often," said Wang. "I was in the clinic quite a bit, in the ER for the weekends and saw a lot of different stuff."

"This entire experience was really positive," added Wang. "One of the nice things about a rural setting is you get to see a lot of different stuff." He added that the value of the work experience is it involves doing things that students don't normally get to see during their first year of medical school. "In class, it is more of reading textbooks and answering questions."

Dr. Bulelwa Mpisi is already a qualified doctor here in the country from South Africa, and is completing her clinic field assessment to work in the province. She arrived in Canada two months ago, and for the last four weeks mentored at the Weyburn Health Centre. "It is a lovely province, people are quite friendly," said Mpisi. "To me, it doesn't feel much like rural because I am used to real rural in South Africa. Canada is different because it is the First World and I am from a Third World, or developing country. There are rural areas where people still don't have any electricity or running water."

There was still a lot that Mpisi learned from her experience, even with being a qualified doctor. "My clinical school has improved a lot, and I am still looking for opportunities to grow some more."

Dr. Randi Ramunno is in her second year of residency, and feels that by training in a rural area that she will be more prepared for her own medical practice as a family physician.
"As part of our second year of residency we spend two months in a rural community," said Ramunno. Her first week working at the Weyburn Health Centre started last week.
"I had worked in Weyburn before as a JURSI and I loved the community, it is beautiful and I really liked it here."

Both experiencing the mentorship program as a JURSI and a resident is beneficial because "you get a see a great variety of patients with different problem sets. You have a lot of responsibility and autonomy here and it is a great learning experience," said Ramunno.
In regard to her mentor, Dr. McCollam, Ramunno said, "she is a great mentor and was super easy to talk to about any of the problems that I had with respect to patients or diagnosis."

Ramunno does see a need for more family doctors in rural Saskatchewan. "I want to be a rural doctor. I have already signed the SMA (Saskatchewan Medical Association) return-to-service bursary program."

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