Dr. Kristin Foy of Moosomin and first year medical resident Dr. Stephanie Asence spoke about Saskatchewan’s Family Residency Training Program in the southeast.Sierra D’Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

As part of Saskatchewan’s Family Residency Training Program in the southeast, Dr. Stephanie Asence recently started her medical residency in the Town of Moosomin.

The hosting of medical residents in Moosomin is an extension of the province’s medical residency program, which includes programs in Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current, North Battleford, Prince Albert and La Ronge.

Last summer, Dr. Cara Fallis started her residency in Moosomin and was one of the four residents placed in southeast Saskatchewan.

Currently, there are a total of eight medical residents in southeast Saskatchewan; two in Moosomin; three in Weyburn; three in Humboldt. 

“We’re basically just adding another resident to the mix,” said Dr. Kristin Foy, the Southeast Site Director for the Department of Family Medicine. 

“Stephanie is in first year, and Cara is in second year. They’re doing different rotations right now, Cara is in Fort Qu’Appelle, Stephanie is here in Moosomin for family medicine. It’s exciting to see the program growing.”

Having residents in the community helps contribute to Moosomin’s Family Practice and the overall medical community in general, said Foy.

“As first year residents they aren’t necessarily seeing a whole lot of their own patients, but as they get integrated into the community and become more comfortable with our practice then they certainly can see more,” said Foy.

“We are a learning based program. We’re not service based, we want to make sure we’re always focused on their learning and not just purely providing service. 

“Certainly they do provide some assistance, in terms of seeing patients, that other attending physicians might be doing. You have to have qualifications to supervise (residents), but most of our physicians here are supervising them.”

Dr. Asence happy to be matched in Moosomin  

Dr. Stephanie Asence spoke about why she picked Moosomin for her residency.

“Because I live in Winnipeg, Moosomin was actually my top choice,” said Asence.

“When we look at the program descriptions during the CaRMS matching process, there was a lot of good feedback about Saskatchewan’s Family Residency Training Program. 

“Most of the people who have gone through Saskatchewan’s program have had good things to say about the program so it was one my top choices.

“I originally came from Winnipeg so I thought it would be an easier move if we were near family as well. I brought my family here too. 

“Because families are a big support group during residency, we wanted to maintain a relationship with our Winnipeg family. 

“Moosomin was a good site, I also talked to Dr. Cara when we were ranking programs and she did have very nice feedback about the community.

“I also knew some of the Filipino community here. I had a friend who connected me with the Filipino community here and they were very nice.”

So far, Asence said she is enjoying the community in Moosomin.

“It’s good, it’s a very charming town. I’m used to rural living,” she said.

“I was also a rural physician back in the Philippines, I’m used to the small town, very quiet, laid back community. I’m liking it so far.”

Asence said her interest for becoming a doctor came from her grandmother being a physician back in the Philippines.

“I had a grandmother who was also a family physician back in the Philippines,” said Asence.

“In my mind she was really into community work. She would go into the grassroots and meet people there. She was one of my inspirations.

“I’m really into community and family medicine, I’m hoping to gain more skills and knowledge during residency so that I will be more confident starting my own practice after.”

Asence said she is interested in practicing rural medicine after finishing her residency.

“I’m really leaning into the rural medicine just based on the few weeks that I have been here,” she said.

“I’m definitely liking the way the doctors are practicing family medicine. If not in Moosomin, I want to practice in other rural communities in Saskatchewan, if they would accept me after.”

Asence was asked if she thinks resident doctors consider practicing rurally or generally choose the city.

“I can’t say for sure about Canadian medical graduates about their preferences, but I guess it depends on the lifestyle that the student is used to, and if they would be at home with a rural practice,” she said. 

“We do know that it’s not any different from the city training, if not we get more hands-on experience here (rurally) as a family physician. 

“As the other doctors have mentioned, we’re the first line to see the patients, and sometimes, the only ones to see the patients in town because there’s no specialists nearby. 

“I’m actually surprised that the first few calls I’ve had, of how diverse the cases here have been. 

“I think I’m going to see a lot of interesting cases here and learn a lot from the doctors who are here.”

How does the residency program work? 

Foy explained how the residency training program works in Moosomin at the Southeast Integrated Care Centre (SEICC), and clinics within the region.

“We oversee residents, their supervisor might even be in the room with them, and work with them more at an end of medical school type of level,” Foy said.

“As we make sure the resident learns our EMR, learns our practice styles, then we start to lengthen that leash, and the resident will start to see patients more independently.

“They’re always reviewing their patients with a preceptor, sometimes it’s directly after the encounter, but towards as they get into second year of residency then they might go through the whole half day and review all of the patients at the end of the half day. 

“As well, of course, being able to check with a supervisor in the mean time if they have any concerns or issues.

“We gradually lengthen that leash until the end of residency when they’re, hopefully, confident enough to go out and practice independently.”

“I’m very amazed with the program. It’s a very hands-on program,” Asence added.

“The physicians really guide me and show me the ropes, especially because I’m new to the system. As Dr. Foy said, it’s more learner based, most of the physicians are meeting me where I’m at right now and are showing me the ropes.”

Benefits of Moosomin offering medical residency training 

With Moosomin being one of the host communities in the province for the Family Residency Training Program, Foy said it brings many benefits to the community.

“I think it’s a drawing feature especially for incoming physicians,” said Foy. 

“Lots of doctors do like to teach, especially some of the newer generation physicians who might have just finished residency, who like to pass on that knowledge, so do the older ones.

“It sets Moosomin apart from some of the other communities that don’t have a residency program. It solidifies our place as being a community that provides high level care. I think it’s a recruitment and retention perk, hopefully.”

Foy was asked if Moosomin is one of the few communities with a population of around 3,000 people in Canada where you can take a residency program.

“There’s not many communtiies this small that have their own residency program,” she said.

“La Ronge is kind of the only small place in Saskatchewan where you can take a residency program. In Alberta, I don’t think any of the small communities have them. In Manitoba, Brandon has it, but Brandon’s big. There’s not many very small communities that have residency programs.”

By Sierra D’Souza Butts, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 31, 2023 at 09:45

This item reprinted with permission from   Moosomin World-Spectator   Moosomin, Saskatchewant

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