Med students learn about rural medicine in Petrolia


When Tina Lam decided to become a doctor, she expected she would work in a larger center like Toronto.

But the Windsor native is having second thoughts after begin part of Discovery Week.

Twenty students from the Schulich School of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario came to Sarnia-Lambton, four who spent time in Petrolia.

First year medical students go to small centers around southern Ontario to work with health professionals to gain a better understanding of rural medicine.

Lam says it was very helpful. “More physicians are willing to teach you on a one-on-one basis here,” she says. “You don’t get that in a lecture hall. I learned a lot sitting next to a doctor while he was with a patient.”

“When I started medicine, I thought I would end up in a larger center,” Lam says “but now that I’ve experienced rural medicine, I really like it. I would definitely consider coming back to a rural community.”

Naomi Mudachi of Toronto says her partner doesn’t want to live in a small town, so she hasn’t considered rural medicine. But after being in Petrolia she thinks rural medicine has a lot to offer young doctors. “It’s a very warm and supportive environment – close knit – the physicians all know each other and there is a nice feel for patient care.”

Nauman Malik of Toronto agrees. “I found a lot of possibility that I didn’t know about before,” he says.”

But Mark Czuczman of Port Elgin already knows the benefits of rural Ontario. I’ve always considered rural medicine,” he says adding spending time in Petrolia confirmed his decision to practice in a small town. “I’ve always thought I’d like to work in a emergency medicine because in a small centre you get to do more things.

“I would definitely come back to Petrolia.”

That’s what Bluewater Health’s Alison Mahon likes to here. She says the Discovery Week gives the students a chance to “think about coming for training here…and consider if they will thinking about coming back here to practice.”