Eleven UBC medical students appeared more like family during their visit to Trail this weekend. The trip ended with a luncheon hosted by Dr. Cheryl Hume and her husband Dr. Ralph Behrens

Eleven UBC medical students appeared more like family during their visit to Trail this weekend. The trip ended with a luncheon hosted by Dr. Cheryl Hume and her husband Dr. Ralph Behrens

Medical students hope to score spot at hospital

Eleven applicants from UBC visited KBRH on weekend.

Trail gave eager medical students a taste of the area this weekend when 11 hopeful applicants met with local professionals.Dr. Cheryl Hume hosted the visit, which will ultimately help a panel select two third-year UBC medical students to work in Trail for a year starting in September.Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, along with a facility in Vernon, has been established as a teaching hospital for a pilot program that hopes to expand to facilities in Penticton and Cranbrook in the future.Based in Kelowna, the new southern medical program is the fourth in UBC’s MD undergraduate program, which aims to improve upon the number of rural students seeking medical careers, while also allowing students to complete their training in rural and underserved communities where they are more likely to return to practice once their training is complete.Since the new program is just starting up, the first integrated clerkship opportunities for third-year students coming to Trail will be offered to students in its sister programs on Vancouver Island, the north and Greater Vancouver.“I think it would be really neat to be part of a pilot program,” said northern student Nick Leinweber. “You’d have a little bit of influence on what happens in years to come.” The 26-year-old was one of the 11 who toured Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital and the community on the weekend, and also met with representatives from the southern medical program, Interior Health and KBRH.Born and raised in Kimberley, Leinweber sees himself learning and eventually working in the Kootenay region.“Why not come back to a place where I already share the same values?” he             said. “Back here, it’s a lot about the value of being part of a community. Your job is just as important as the other members of your community.”The avid skier is keen on landing one of the “integrated clerkship” positions. The new approach was initiated in Chilliwack in 2004 – the first program of its kind in Canada.Unlike a traditional block rotation where a student would work in one area of the hospital for a time             then move on to another, the integrated clerkship allows a student to work with patients through the entire care cycle – from diagnosis to treatment and       follow-up.Drew Delany, 25, is looking to leave Vancouver for a life in rural B.C. where he can create ties with neighbours and have a real sense of community.“It’s a good opportunity to get into a smaller community – this is the type of community that I want to live in when I ‘grow up,’” he said. “Even though there are so many people in Vancouver, it can feel lonely.” The outdoorsman grew up at the base of Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, where he spent many years skiing and eventually acquiring other hobbies like mountain biking and rock climbing.After traveling overseas, Delany moved to Squamish, which gave him a sense of what life is like in a smaller community.Twenty-four-year-old Kaitlin Duncan sees herself working in a place like Trail, where she can find the proper balance between work and home life.“People who work in a rural community care more about balance, they’re not struggling to get to the top of the heap,” she said. “In rural communities you get to know your patient as a person, and then you can provide ever better care.”Originally from Alberta, Duncan feels overwhelmed by the water and lack of seasons on Vancouver Island and is ready to move to a mountain community where she can enjoy the outdoors.Students selected to work in Trail will shadow family physicians out of Riverside Family Medicine, Columbia Family Medicine and the Beaver Valley Clinic, and will work alongside a number of specialists at the Trail hospital, which will give them the opportunity to bounce between areas of expertise. On April 7, a panel will select who will take part in the pilot program in Trail.