Training ground
Stanton residency program trains doctors for rural medicine

Darren Campbell
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 23/98) - Dr. Rosy Khurana got a taste of what her future in medicine holds while doing a medical clinic in Rae Lakes recently.

After finishing the clinic, Khurana couldn't leave the community because it was too windy. So, stuck there during a wind storm, Khurana improvised and went fishing for the next two days.

Welcome to the North, Dr. Khurana. And welcome to the wonderful world of family medicine in rural Canada.

But Khurana said that is just one of the experiences that has helped her learn so much during her two months in Yellowknife.

"To be up here you have to be adaptable," said Khurana. "Being adaptable is probably the most important thing."

Khurana is just one of 10 young doctors who is learning those lessons under Stanton Regional Hospital's medical residency program this year.

The program, which has been around since 1995, is affiliated with the University of Calgary's department of family medicine.

Each year Stanton takes in eight to 10 residents for two-month training periods where they learn the practical skills needed to practice family medicine. And it's all done in the North.

In case you are not sure what a resident is, it's a post-graduate physician who has completed medical school and one year of practical training. To be a family physician you need two years of experience.

Dr. Andy MacMillan, who developed the program, said residents are set up with an advising doctor from one of the four family clinics in Yellowknife.

During their two months here, the residents do what every normal family doctor would do. That ranges from seeing patients in the office, doing travel clinics, assisting in surgery and delivering babies.

Khurana said it is these wide range of duties that has made Yellowknife a popular spot among her 36 classmates to do their second-year of training.

"Coming up to Yellowknife in my class has become really desired," said Khurana . "You're exposed to a wider variety of patients. The learning opportunity is here. You can take what you want from this experience and really run with it."

And the program seems to do as much for Stanton as it does for the residents who come here.

"These residents keep you on your toes," said Dr. MacMillan. "They ask a lot of questions. So if you give them an answer you have to make sure it's the right answer."