Lawn med stu­dent hopes to at­tract physi­cians to the re­gion

Slaney hopes to high­light Burin Penin­sula at res­i­dents’ re­treat

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY COLIN FAR­RELL

Dr. Paula Slaney, a na­tive of the Town of Lawn cur­rently com­plet­ing her sec­ond-year res­i­dency in fam­ily medicine, is hop­ing to en­cour­age more physi­cians to con­sider set­ting up prac­tice on the Burin Penin­sula.

Slaney spoke on be­half of Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity dur­ing the Burin Penin­sula Joint Coun­cil an­nual gen­eral meet­ing held at the Marys­town Ho­tel and Con­ven­tion Cen­tre on Nov. 29.

“I have al­ways been an ad­vo­cate for the Burin Penin­sula,” she said dur­ing her pre­sen­ta­tion. “I’ve been on a count­down to come back here since the day I went to St. John’s, and luck­ily I did have the op­por­tu­nity to do my full-year train­ing here, with plans to set up my own prac­tice in July.”

Slaney said she is try­ing to con­vince oth­ers cur­rently com­plet­ing their train­ing, as well as some still work­ing to­wards their de­grees, to join her.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult to start as a young physi­cian with­out hav­ing some sup­port and ideally, it’s been noted in re­search that physi­cians tend to want to work in groups now – the solo prac­tice is very much gone out of style.

“We do like to work to­gether, share pa­tients, have sup­port.”

She added the best way to en­cour­age that model it to at­tract groups of physi­cians to the area.

“This is what we need for the whole penin­sula, to have more young physi­cians who are trained here, who are from ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties who want to sup­port ru­ral New­found­land,” said Slaney.

Re­gional streams

Me­mo­rial’s fac­ulty of fam­ily medicine is di­vided into streams based on re­gional health au­thor­i­ties in the province – eastern, cen­tral, west­ern and north­ern, said Slaney.

Ac­cord­ing to Me­mo­rial’s web­site, “EastFam” is a stream of the fam­ily medicine res­i­dency pro­gram that of­fers res­i­dents a chance to com­plete most of their res­i­dency pro­gram in the eastern re­gion of the province.

Slaney said while the other re­gional streams have suc­cess­fully en­cour­aged com­mu­ni­ties within their stream to help fund and sup­port res­i­dent re­treats, that hasn’t been the case for the eastern stream.

“Our re­treat was in St. John’s last year, which I think is an un­for­tu­nate and missed op­por­tu­nity, (be­cause) for peo­ple who want to work in St. John’s, a re­treat is not go­ing to at­tract them to stay in St. John’s,” said Slaney. “They al­ready want to stay there. It’s a wasted op­por­tu­nity.”

This year, Slaney is ad­vo­cat­ing to have a re­treat held on the Burin Penin­sula to show­case the re­gion and all that it of­fers to new physi­cians.

“What we are look­ing at is bring­ing in a group of eastern stream res­i­dents, first-year and sec­ond-year fam­ily medicine res­i­dents at Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity who are train­ing within Eastern Health from Bon­av­ista to St. John’s, down to the Burin Penin­sula.”

Slaney said 15 peo­ple are in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing a week­end re­treat on the Burin Penin­sula to get to know the area.

“Res­i­dents would travel to the Burin Penin­sula on Fri­day af­ter­noon. We would have a so­cial event on Fri­day evening, and coun­cils would be in­vited to come and min­gle with the res­i­dents and speak to th­ese fu­ture physi­cians to try and at­tract more peo­ple to our area.”

Slaney said un­less res­i­dents are sched­uled for a ro­ta­tion on the penin­sula, “which are few and far be­tween, th­ese trainees just drive right past the turn-off and never ever come down here, so they don’t know what they’re miss­ing.”

She said dur­ing the event a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from each coun­cil around the penin­sula would be given an op­por­tu­nity to present to the group to pro­mote their towns and the ben­e­fits they of­fer.

COLIN FAR­RELL/ THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE

Lawn na­tive Dr. Paula Slaney, a stu­dent with the school of medicine at Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity, was one of the guest speak­ers at the Burin Penin­sula Joint Coun­cil AGM on Nov. 29.

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