Three medical students from Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University in London got to experience Discovery Week at the Wingham and District Hospital from May 23 – 26. Pictured from left: Medical students Emma Brownlie, Austin McMillan and Emily Horsey give a big thumbs during an eventful and informative week-long placement in Wingham on May 26. Melissa Dunphy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

An introduction to rural medicine is a vital piece of knowledge for eager and enthusiastic medical students. Last week, three students from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University in London got to experience just that. The Wingham and District Hospital and North Huron Family Health Network were thrilled to welcome these students to begin their hands-on and practical learning during Discovery Week 2023. 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the partnership between the University and provincial hospitals. 

“For the past 25 years, as part of Discovery Week, all first-year medical students participate in immersive, one-week placements in health care settings across Southwestern Ontario,” explained the press release sent on May 16. 

During the placement at the Wingham hospital, the students were exposed to teamwork and professionalism within a rural medical setting. And when they weren’t learning or practicing their skills, the group were able to enjoy all the sights and wonders of Wingham.

“By immersing medical students in our health care settings and community in this way, we’re helping these future physicians envision themselves living here and caring for our residents down the line,” expressed the release. 

“After getting a taste of life and medicine in a rural or regional community through opportunities like Discovery Week, many Schulich medical students return to practice upon completion of their training”, said Dr. George Kim, assistant dean, distributed education, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.

“We’re so grateful to collaborate with partners like Wingham & District Hospital and North Huron Family Health Network, who welcome our medical students and give them unparalleled first-hand training experiences in their communities,” said Kim. “Working together, we’re creating a cohort of physicians who are ready, willing and able to care for people across Ontario in a variety of settings.”

As for the medical students, Wingham has made a lasting impression. 

“It’s been fantastic so far. It’s been nice to see how talented all the physicians and staff are especially with the diversity of things that they practice… like the ability to apply themselves to so many areas is really impressive to see,” expressed Emma Brownlie, one of the medical students from Western University participating in Discovery Week.

“I also love the community mindedness, like all the doctors here, have been so… it’s been so obvious that they really love their patients and want to advocate for them,” said Emily Horsey. 

“Everyone is so friendly here!” expressed Austin McMillan. 

And what did these students think of the small town of Wingham? 

“I love it!” exclaimed Brownlie. 

“It’s great! Everything is so close to each other, it’s a 15-minute walk max,” said McMillan. 

They even gave a shout out to Wingham’s own Frosty Queen. 

During their week at the hospital, the students had rotations in different medical fields and practices, such as the emergency department, oncology, family practice, operating room and more. Brownlie also got to do some home visits for the Amish and Mennonite community, which she found very interesting. They also got to see how different interprofessional teams work together to make a hospital run. 

“When people think healthcare, they think doctors, nurses and that’s about it. But there’s so many like phenomenal people that like the system would completely crumble without,” expressed Brownlie. 

It was interesting for the students to work within the rural community, and when asked what their favourite part of the town was, it was hard for them to choose just one. 

“That’s a tough one because there are so many good things! From the brief stay here is how friendly. Everyone we’ve interacted with has been so friendly and ready to welcome you with open arms,” explained McMillan. 

“It’s the people, it’s so apparent not only how much they care for the hospital and patients , but they are genuinely interested in us and what we could take away from it,” said Brownlie. 

And this program is a win-win for all involved. 

“I love it!” said Jan McKague-Weishar, about having the students come for Discovery Week. 

She then discussed how inspiring it is to have fresh faces and keen minds in the hospital, eager to learn and ready to help. 

“We’ve been really energized too by having you guys here!”

By Melissa Dunphy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 02, 2023 at 07:45

This item reprinted with permission from   Listowel Banner   Listowel, Ontario

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