Each issue of HCIS' quarterly newsletter contains photographs, stories and information about the work we do, the people we meet and success stories from the health workforce and students.
We are always looking for stories so if you have one to share or if you would like to receive a paper copy of our newsletter, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, enjoy the current issue.
Inside This Issue:
Finding Work-Life Balance in Northeast Saskatchewan
Triston Gallais is a physical therapist (PT) in Melfort, a city nestled in the heart of Saskatchewan’s farmland country just on the edge of some great outdoor adventure spots. Like many other health care employees who choose to work and live in rural communities throughout the province, Gallais appreciates and enjoys the work and activities you can experience in a small town and firmly believes you wouldn’t necessarily see those same amenities in a larger city.
“The work-life balance for me is 100 per cent. If I don’t get that I just wouldn’t be as happy. There’s something satisfying about being able to come home from a day of seeing patients, which I really enjoy, and doing something completely different like chores on the farm or working outside. That is real downtime for me and it would be hard to find that type of thing living in a bigger city.”
Gallais and her husband live in the small community of White Fox, which is about 100 kilometres northeast of Melfort. While living an hour away from work may not be ideal, Gallais doesn’t mind driving back and forth to Nipawin and/or Melfort.
“Some days I work in Nipawin, while other days of the week I work in Melfort. Either way, the drive doesn’t bother me at all. It is kind of relaxing and really everything I need in terms of shopping or recreational opportunities, they’re all here regardless of what town I’m in. We may be a few hours from an international airport, but we really have everything we need out here.”
Gallais chose her career path years ago while playing AAA midget hockey in Prince Albert. It was during this time she realized that hockey was a huge part of her life, but it wasn’t her whole life. After receiving an injury playing hockey, Gallais learned exactly what a PT can do to help her heal properly. It was then that Gallais knew she wanted to be a PT.
“I knew right then that I wanted to do PT. So right after high school I moved to Regina and enrolled in Kinesiology at the U of R (University of Regina). I wanted to get that degree before going into PT. Then after the U of R I got into the PT program at the University of Saskatchewan, graduated from that program and now I am working here and really enjoying it.”
Gallais is excited to work with a team of nurses, doctors, other therapists and people in the community who value her advice and her services as a PT. Her typical day includes seeing patients from 12 to 90 years of age. Some of the more common treatments involve people with back problems, repetitive strain injuries, sore necks, or recovering from surgery. She says at times the work, and the locations are demanding. However, at the end of each day she is grateful for what she does and where she chose to do it.
“There are some advantages of living and working in a larger centre, but for me working in a place where you know everyone and they know you, not just coworkers but patients too, you get a real sense of belonging. I don’t think that’s something you’d get in a big hospital.”
Hear Gallais’ story in her own words by watching her video on Health Careers in Saskatchewan’s Vimeo channel. While you're there, subscribe to our channel to learn more about the many great clinicians like Gallais who choose to live and work in rural Saskatchewan.
Northeast Saskatchewan Offers Physician Great Quality of Life
How many places in this world would a doctor be able to have breakfast each morning at home with family and then be at work a few minutes later, meeting with patients? For most of us, the answer would be - not many. However, Melfort, Saskatchewan offers family physicians like Dr. Stephanie Nyberg this luxury.
“A typical day for me starts off with breakfast at home, which is always a plus. I’m here (at work) in five minutes, I have free parking almost literally at the front entrance to the hospital and then I’m checking on patients from overnight and making my rounds shortly after.”
Dr. Nyberg recently started practising family medicine in Melfort, a city of just over 5,000 people in northeast Saskatchewan. Melfort is a farming community with all of the amenities not far from bigger locations like Prince Albert and Saskatoon. Dr. Nyberg is one of many family physicians in Melfort who see a range of patients every day. Depending on the day, Dr. Nyberg and her colleagues see people with chronic conditions as well as those with severe and acute emergency issues that vary in scope and severity. Dr. Nyberg also enjoys the variety of obstetric cases in Melfort, although sometimes she admits it is a bit overwhelming as the number of obstetric visits she sees in Melfort sometimes rivals larger tertiary hospitals in Saskatoon or Regina.
“We do it all here in Melfort. The typical call schedule is one in 12, which is great and when you are on call, you’re it. That’s not to say you absolutely can’t get a hold of another physician while you’re on call. Everyone here is really good about leaving their cell numbers with each other so that if you do need a second opinion or want to run something by another doctor you can. I don’t think you would find that type of collegiality in a larger hospital or city. The health care teams here are great as well. The nurses, therapists, technicians, everyone here is super helpful so you never really feel like you’re just ‘it.’”
Dr. Nyberg was born and raised in Saskatchewan, graduated from high school in Regina, completed her medical degree at the University of Saskatchewan, and finished her residency in Regina. She doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. Dr. Nyberg decided to make Melfort home for a couple of reasons, one of them being her partner who also works in the community. They both felt it is a great place to settle in.
“Working and living in a place this size is great. Not only do you work together, rely on each other for professional support and have an opportunity to work with a team of health care providers from many disciplines, you also have an opportunity to see those same people in the community. That may not be something you could experience in a larger city. We have dinners together, parties, potlucks and things like that all the time. Then, if you want to experience the outdoors Melfort is literally only a few miles away from camping, fishing, snowmobile trails, ski trails and a ski hill. All of these great outdoors activities are right at your doorstep.”
Dr. Nyberg found that choosing where to practise was made easier by knowing what to expect. “I did my PREP (Physician Recruitment Agency of Saskatchewan’s Rural Externship Program) placement in Melfort a couple of years ago so I wasn’t totally surprised to find out what the workplace and community were like. I enjoyed my experience. You get to do a lot of things in a place like this that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. I think some of the placements in the larger cities allow you to only look over someone’s shoulder; here you were actually doing things.”
Hear Dr. Nyberg’s story in her own words by watching her video on saskdocs’ Vimeo channel. While you're there, subscribe to our channel to learn more about the many great physicians like Dr. Nyberg who are practising in Saskatchewan.
Northeast Saskatchewan - A Winter Paradise
Northeast Saskatchewan is an outdoor paradise in the winter, with access to endless outdoor recreational opportunities. Take in the scenery while skiing, ice fishing or snowmobiling. Pick any community in this region and you’ll find that each one is in or at the door step of natural wonders available to anyone.
If you love the thrill of blasting through powder or leisurely gliding down groomed trails then the Wapiti Valley Ski and Board Resort is for you. The ski area is located approximately 50 kilometres north of Melfort and offers downhill skiing and snowboarding on 15 slopes. The hill is situated on the banks of the Saskatchewan River. It boasts a quad chair lift and a magic carpet for the kids. Wapiti Valley also has a Terrain Park for the freestyle enthusiasts. The variety of runs means that the park is friendly for beginners and experienced downhill enthusiasts.
Our northeast Saskatchewan tourism blogger Becky tells us a little bit more about what Wapiti has to offer.
If skiing isn’t your thing, then maybe another outdoor pursuit like ice fishing is and Tobin Lake is the place to do it. Just down river from Wapiti, the lake is a world class fishery that holds giant Northern Pike and Walleye. It is an ice fishing destination for many anglers during the winter and is only a few miles from Nipawin. If you want to find out how big the fish at Tobin Lake really are, just ask Becky. She tried her luck on Tobin and did very well.
Finally, what is winter in Saskatchewan without snowmobiling? Northeast Saskatchewan is home to thousands of kilometres of snowmobile trails that run through aspen forests, parkland, frozen lakes and wilderness. Once again, Becky gives us a firsthand account of what it is like to hit the snowmobile trails in the beautiful northeast.
Tourism Saskatchewan has lots of information on what you and your family can do to enjoy the great outdoors in the province’s northeast. Head to its website - www.tourismsaskatchewan.com to plan your trip this winter.
Inside This Issue:
Registered Nurse is Proud That Nametags Don’t Matter in Oxbow
Alison Duncan – a nursing supervisor at the Galloway Health Centre in Oxbow – was drawn to Saskatchewan thanks to family connections. A relative of hers who has lived in the Oxbow area for 40 years contacted Alison in her home province of New Brunswick to “gently hint” that Oxbow needed registered nurses.
Nine years later, Alison is still pleased with her decision to settle in Oxbow. “Here you really get to know your patients, see them through their care, explore their medical history and get to know them not just as patients, but as people,” says Alison.
The Galloway Health Centre is an integrated health care facility that includes 12 long-term care beds, 10 assessment and observation beds, and 24-hour emergency services.
“The Health Centre is a busy place mostly because it’s a long way from a larger hospital or city so it offers a lot of services. Professionally, I think this is one of the strongest attractions to the job here: knowing how to use and assess a lot of stuff allows me to keep on top of many skills. This is different from a larger tertiary centre where nurses often specialize in the same type of care day after day,” says Alison.
Alison is especially proud of her status as a health care professional in Oxbow. “The community really takes you under its wing and it just astounds me that nametags don’t matter! It’s huge for the patients when they know your first name, when I establish that trust and the confidence they place in me as a care provider.”
Outside of work, Alison sees plenty of advantages to her lifestyle in Oxbow: “My husband really loves the outdoors, and he finds that southeast Saskatchewan has some of the best fishing and hunting spots in the country so he really enjoys the region as well. We both love to camp so we have a number of different camping spots we can visit at any time.”
At the end of her day, it’s relationships that matter most to Alison. “Since I’ve been in Oxbow I’ve developed more of a trusting relationship with patients. It’s these types of relationships that make me feel great. I love this small town – it has a real sense of community and I love being a part of it.”
Hear Alison Duncan's story in her own words by watching this video. While you're there, subscribe to our Vimeo channel to learn more about the many great health professionals currently working in Saskatchewan.
Southern Physician Enjoys Being Close to His Patients and Family
Dr. Brad McIntyre, a family physician in the southeast Saskatchewan town of Redvers, clearly remembers the two South African physicians who practised in his nearby hometown of Alida while he was growing up.
“They were really friendly guys and they made family medicine really appealing for me. They set a good example of what I think a family physician in rural Saskatchewan should be doing.”
Dr. McIntyre completed his own residency in family medicine in Swift Current and was well-prepared for his career ahead in rural health care. He feels his current role as a family physician in Redvers is a perfect opportunity on multiple levels. With two young daughters, being geographically close to his extended family and a tight-knit group of friends definitely has its benefits (his wife is from nearby Minot, North Dakota). Another highlight is that Dr. McIntyre still farms with his family when he has time.
“One of the advantages of practising medicine in a place like Redvers is that you are close to family. I know I can walk down the street to my house to look after my kids, or I can drive a short distance to ‘de-stress’ and do farm work, and then I can be back here at the health centre in only a few minutes if need be,” says Dr. McIntyre.
“When you practise rural family medicine, you use a wide range of skills and you’re with a small professional group in a small community. While resources may be limited, the scope of practice is broad. You could be monitoring a patient with chest pains and referring them to a cardiologist, dealing with a trauma and working with a STARS team, and then setting a broken bone. It all depends on the day.”
Dr. McIntyre loves the diversity of his practice as one of two doctors in the town – treating patients with anything from a cough or a cold, all the way to mild cognitive impairment or a stroke. Redvers also has a 40-bed long-term care facility where he does rounds. Being in a smaller community means practising beginning-to-end patient care and working consistently with colleagues to ensure a team-based approach to care.
“Living in rural Saskatchewan was always in my plan. There is lots of room, lots of places to explore, affordable living and a lifestyle with something different each season.”
Hear Dr. McIntyre's story in his own words by watching this video. While you're there, subscribe to our Vimeo channel to learn more about the many great physicians currently practising in Saskatchewan.
Cruising Through Southern Saskatchewan
Originally Published on July 24, 2017 by Bruin Alexander
I remember my first time through Saskatchewan, on a bus bound for Swift Current, watching the fields flash by. That was about a dozen years ago now, and it seems like a totally different time, a totally different life. That kid was on the first eastern road swing of his Western Hockey League career, and Saskatchewan wasn’t much more than a pit stop: five rinks, five hotels, and not much else.
Looking back, the funny thing was how excited all my teammates were about their province. Kids from BC or Alberta were excited by their hometowns, the odd ski resort, and maybe a lake they spent a summer at. The boys from Saskatchewan were excited about everything: how what’s-his-name’s little brother once played puck in that town, or how such-and-such an NHLer grew up plowing that field and skating on that pond, or about the one time they snuck out on the dirt bikes to fish out the back of so-and-so’s property.
As the bus drifted across the countryside, you’d hear a constant murmur of stories about here. There is a whole lot of folklore in the “Land of the Living Skies”. For a lot of my life, that folklore was tied up in hockey, and for good reason: they don’t do it as well anywhere else. But by my second swing through, I realized the pride was tied up in so much more than just the game.
As Nathaniel and I recently screamed through the fields of southern Saskatchewan, he began pointing out places he remembered from growing up: visits to his Grandpa’s farm, the stories his Pops would tell about another time. He had a lot of those stories and places to point out. Even though he didn’t live for long in Saskatchewan, he stayed long enough to get a taste of what that meant.
On our week or so cruising through the southern reaches and small towns, we met lots of people. They all had things in common - this attitude, this friendliness, and an earnest interest in a couple outsiders – all of which was steeped in a sense of pride regarding home. Everyone had a favourite place to point out, and with every place came a favourite memory. We could sit down in a diner and sink into conversations about wherever we found ourselves, learning local secrets about where to eat, where to fish, where to crash.
All of it had this charm. Everyone you met either never left, or if they had, they figured out enough reasons to come back. Everyone holds the door. Helping someone with groceries isn’t questioned. You hear “sorry” even – especially - when it isn’t warranted. Most of the folks you see know each other, and most of them have a story or two about the other. It’s a simple place that loves it that way.
Saskatchewan always had something to it, something people talk about, something I never understood. Something that had old friends from Kindersley, Estevan, Tisdale, wherever, dreaming of nothing but a small slice of home. I thought about that as we slowly headed west. The longer you hang around, the more you see the sweat, the community, the dignity. From old women excited to share stories of a time past and not altogether different, to old men complaining with childhood friends about the rain or the Riders. Sons sowing the land of their fathers, and daughters dreaming about one day living up to their mothers. A whole lot of people who can see forever on the horizon and are happy that forever is here.
Many visitors to our country come to see the coasts or the big cities. If you’ve done that, you might've seen Canada, but until you've been to the middle, you'll probably never understand Canadiana; the grit, the patience, the courtesy, the pride. If you want to understand why people around the world smile when they see that red and white maple leaf, come to Saskatchewan. It’s a place where many folks choose to stay, because the grass - as they say - is never greener than it is here.
Author: Bruin Alexander - writer, adventure photographer & social media strategist from Vancouver
As a photographer his goal is to inspire people to challenge the status quo and live fulfilling, mutually beneficial and purposeful lives. Through his travels he intends to document the notion that there is no 'right' way to live and that progress is best seen within diverse populations who share information in such a way as to create a more holistic and empowered individual.