UBC resident, Chelsey Ricketts, paints a very positive picture of her Inuvik experience:
Nearly four year ago, as a second year medical student interested in rural medicine, I stumbled across a blog (www.polardoc.typepad.com) about a unique hospital in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The blog – maintained by the hospital’s medical director, Dr. Braam de Klerk – highlighted the opportunities available there for medical students, residents, and locum physicians. I followed Dr. de Klerk’s blog for the next few years, and was inspired by the photos and stories of the residents and physicians posted there periodically.
When it came time for me to consider residency programs, the possibility of doing a rotation in Inuvik during my PGY-2 year heavily influenced my choice of UBC’s Northern Rural Program. Now, over the past four months, I have been able to have my own experience north of the Arctic Circle.
Working in the Inuvik Regional Hospital has surpassed my expectations in every conceivable respect. I have applied literally every discipline of medicine, multiple times throughout every day. As a resident here, you admit patients and follow them until they are discharged or transferred. You work two or three shifts in the emergency room each week, dealing with issues of wide-ranging acuity and honing the skills of inter-professional communication and transfer, which are critical in rural medicine. You have the opportunity to spend mornings in the operating room with GP surgeons and visiting specialists, and are often able to act as first assistant. Residents and medical students are heavily involved in obstetrics as well, with 2-3 deliveries per week, and the opportunity to follow patients from prenatal through to postnatal care. Several half-days in the general medicine clinic are scheduled per week, and staff members offer daily teaching sessions on topics in rural medicine.
The Inuvik Regional Hospital also serves a number of smaller communities in the Western Arctic. Learners are able to travel with a staff member for visiting clinics, which helps improve their understanding of the social and cultural background of the population that the hospital serves, as well as to appreciate the challenges facing nursing stations in remote communities. Inuvik offers a magnificent rural medicine training experience. Residents and medical students are part of a team of professionals that provides life-long care in a supportive and collegial atmosphere. For me, this has been the most rewarding and memorable rotation of my medical training by far. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had this opportunity and I certainly hope to be back.