NDP Urges Wall Government to Improve Medical Education in Saskatchewan
Posted: March 28, 2011
NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter was joined in the legislature today by a group of first-and-second-year medical students from the University of Saskatchewan who are calling on the Wall Government to increase the ratio of medical students to preceptors, and to enhance the distribution of medical education into rural Saskatchewan so that students will choose to practice in rural areas upon graduation.
“We believe that the best way to recruit and retain physicians is to ensure that medical students have a positive experience during the course of their studies here in Saskatchewan,” said Lingenfelter. “The government increased the number of medical training seats but they failed to increase the number of preceptors and this has many medical students concerned. As a result, the ratio of preceptors to students is not what it used to be and this is affecting the quality and quantity of interaction the students are getting with their preceptors. It’s imperative that the Wall Government address this issue as soon as possible.”
Lingenfelter said a quality medical preceptorship is an important learning tool for medical students to gain valuable experience in their field, ensuring that students get an opportunity to observe medical procedures, the physician’s interactions with patients and family members, and to see first-hand what to expect in the physician’s workload.
Lingenfelter noted that U of S medical students are demanding that the Wall Government move to increase the distribution of medical education in rural areas. Lingenfelter said that students exposed to rural areas early on are more likely to practice in rural areas upon graduation. This exposure also increases the likelihood that students will choose general medicine or family medicine as their chosen field – something rural Saskatchewan needs more of.
“Ontario has incorporated this model of learning and it is working. We need to emphasize medical education in rural areas so that our students can experience the culture of a rural community and can see for themselves the benefits of choosing to live and practice in rural Saskatchewan,” said Lingenfelter. “We are urging the Wall Government to increase the ratio of preceptors to students and move to distributing medical education into rural Saskatchewan. For students to see they have a future right here at home is the best incentive of all,” Lingenfelter concluded.