Doctor Tour Introduces Medical Students to Rural Life

May 30, 2014

By Amanda Brodhagen,

First-year medical students from Western University, also known as the University of Western Ontario, were given a taste into what it would be like to practice rural medicine as they toured parts of Bruce and Grey counties this week.

The tour, which is part of their school curriculum, is called “rural discovery week”, where the main objective is for the students to visit hospitals in the region and talk to doctors about the advantages and disadvantages of rural practice.

For a portion of their visit, the Bruce County Federation of Agriculture (BCFA) took the students on a tour to visit the local farms and agricultural business in the area.

“We try to make them familiar with some of the hazards with farming and what kinds of injuries that they might be able to expect,” said Patrick Jilesen President of BCFA.

Jilesen, who has helped organize the tour for the past two years, says the tour’s success is thanks to area farmers who are kind enough to allow them to visit their farm business.  One of the stops was at a local dairy farm, where the students helped milk the cows. “We put boots on them and got them dirty,” he said.  

Some other components of the tour included making stops at the local fire hall in Walkerton and meeting with a veterinarian from Paisley.

“We are encouraging them to come to rural Ontario,” he said. “But we certainly don’t sugar coat anything for them either,” adding that highway 21 is closed three weeks a year in the winter because of the snow. “It’s part of the region,” he explained.

(Contributed photo: Medical students learning about farm equipment during their visit to Huron Tractor Ltd. in Walkerton, Ont.)

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