November 30 2018

Lindsay Richels is a trail blazer. She is a new mom, wife and now the first student charting a course through Saskatchewan’s Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) program at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Estevan.

“They treat medical students so well here at St. Joe’s,” said Richels. The supervising physicians, nurses anyone here really, they’re all open to me asking questions, looking over their shoulder to learn more about collaborative team care. It’s been a great learning experience.”

Richels is a University of Saskatchewan (U of S) medical student who is part of a small group of third year students learning in the field for the next 40 weeks. The LIC program is a new initiative spearheaded by the U of S College of Medicine that gives students a chance to learn and live in a location outside of Regina and Saskatoon.

From a recruitment perspective, saskdocs fully supports the program. Exposing medical students to rural medicine early in their medical training journey increases the likelihood of those students considering to practice in a rural location after completing their residency.

Richels gains hands-on experience in a number of different areas of care including obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics and psychiatry just to name a few. Also, because she now lives closer to Kipling Richels was able to attend the Rural Skills Tour in that community in October. This experience allowed her to learn more about how medicine works in a community and hospital located hours from a larger hospital in places like Estevan or Regina.

“Learning more about collaborative care in a place like Estevan has been a real eye opener for me. Not only do you get to see a patient when they’re first admitted, but you get to see that same person through the continuity of care right up until when they’re discharged. There’s a lot of room for reflection and looking closer at the diagnosis and care you provided. That’s something you just wouldn’t have time for in a larger, tertiary centre.”

Dr. Tara Lee is a Family Physician from Swift Current. She also coordinates the LIC program for the province. Dr. Lee believes the benefits of longitudinal learning in a place like Estevan and Meadow Lake, are many. Dr. Lee says the continuity of care is crucial for LIC participants and they learn so much from it and from a recruitment perspective, it puts that student in a rural setting early on, which really increases the likelihood of that person considering rural medicine after graduating.

“The two main reasons I became director are to improve our retention of Saskatchewan-trained doctors in our rural areas and smaller centres and be part of introducing this much-needed approach to medical education here,” Lee said.

saskdocs staff look forward to seeing more LIC success stories and will continue to support the program in any way possible.