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Physician Rural Externship Program

Gain Rewarding Experiences in Rural Saskatchewan!

Explore rural and/or remote communities in Saskatchewan while immersing yourself in a hands-on family medicine learning experience by participating in PREP!

The Physician Rural Externship Program (PREP) exposes University of Saskatchewan (USask) medical students, between their second and third year, to medical practices outside of Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert and their bedroom communities of Balgonie, Clavet, Delisle, Emerald Park, Langham, Lumsden, Martensville, Pense, Pilot Butte, Warman or White City. It is an excellent opportunity for you to apply your clinical knowledge, establish contacts and learn what rural practice is all about.

Over the past 12 years PREP has seen 314 USask medical students take part in placements across 41 rural and remote communities in Saskatchewan. In 2022, 100% of participants indicated that they were “very satisfied” with their overall PREP experience. Year-after-year students respond with positive feedback that the experience was more than they anticipated and gave them superb access to clinical skill development helping to prepare them for their clerkships and excite them about family medicine practice.

The program is a collaborative initiative between saskdocs (a part of the Saskatchewan Health Authority), the Saskatchewan Medical Association and the University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine.

“I felt that I learned a lot about the realities of clinical practice, and of rural medicine.  It was valuable to learn about the practicalities of operating in a facility in which many people access healthcare very irregularly or live a long distance from the nearest medical facility. There are unique health challenges that face indigenous people and people living in remote areas, and it was interesting to learn about more opportunistic, proactive, and community-focused primary health care. The program certainly forced me to be independent and proactive about my own learning, but I always felt that I could lean on my preceptor and other healthcare workers if I was uncomfortable or uncertain. I appreciated the opportunities to practice new skills and to be pushed to try things independently. “

Erinna, PREP Extern

Program Requirements

USask undergraduate medical students between their second and third year of study can apply to participate in PREP. For 2023, students must commit to a minimum of four weeks with a start date as early as mid-May and an end date as late as the start of the 2023-24 school year.

Criminal Record Checks may be required by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).

Extern’s Function

The externship is valuable experience in a clinical setting. The preceptor permits you, under direct supervision, to do only those procedures that the preceptor believes you to be capable of doing safely. You will have the opportunity to shadow more complicated or advanced procedures.

Salary and Living Allowance

In 2023 externs will be provided:

  • a salary of $500/week (subject to applicable deductions (e.g. EI, CPP, etc.))
  • a cost-of-living allowance of $250/week (non-taxable income, provided by the SMA)

Externs are responsible for finding your own housing/accommodations.


Following completion of the externship, each extern must submit a written evaluation of your experience. The supervising physician will also be required to complete a brief evaluation of their experience. With consent from both parties, evaluations will be shared for present and future learning experience.


Applications for PREP 2023 have now closed.

COVID-19 Information

Clinical Patient Interactions:

  • Medical students are expected to exercise personal and professional responsibility by following all Public Health COVID-19 related orders.
  • Students will not see any patients who screen positive for COVID-19 symptoms, nor any patients who are probable, suspect, or confirmed positive for COVID-19. Students are expected to isolate and contact the 811 Healthline if they are experiencing viral-like symptoms.


If circumstances require that PREP be cancelled prior to the start of the externships, no weekly payments will be made.

If circumstances require PREP to be cancelled at any time after the externship has commenced, or the student or supervising physician have begun but cannot complete the program for reasons that are outside of their control (including isolation due to COVID-19), the student and supervising physician will continue to receive their weekly payments.