Dr. Savanna McKay grew up and graduated from high school in Swan River. She completed medical school at Northern Ontario School of Medicine in Thunder Bay, ON. and she completed her Family Medicine Residency through the University of Manitoba in the Parkland program.

“I chose to move back to Swan River to practice because of all the outdoor recreational activities available throughout all four seasons, including boating, camping, kayaking, hiking, snowmobiling, skiing and much more…”

Dr. McKay has been practicing since July 2017 in Swan River. Her clinic is located at the Swan Valley Primary Care Centre. When Dr. McKay is not in the clinic she is busy seeing inpatients and working shifts in the emergency department at the local hospital.

“One of the many benefits of working in Rural Manitoba is that the relatively new clinic and hospital are great facilities to work and the clinic has a very supportive group of colleagues to work with.”

During the interview, Dr. McKay indicated that rural life offered many benefits, such as; great outdoor recreation opportunities and quiet rural living very supportive communities (lots of fundraisers for medical equipment, etc.).

Dr. McKay stated that, she doesn’t have to wait to go on vacation to have fun, explore and enjoy outdoor recreational activities, instead she enjoys the fact that all these luxuries are available every day after work and weekend within close distance.

Family Medicine Physician

“Having grown in up rural Manitoba and being familiar with the friendly nature of small town living, it was an easy decision to pursue rural medicine. I have worked in Treherne for nearly three years and feel I was well prepared by Manitoba’s rural residency program for the work environment that exists in a smaller community. Our work entails a broad scope of practice, and we are challenged to problem-solve and enhance our knowledge on a daily basis.

My colleagues and I derive a lot of satisfaction from the opportunity to provide continuity of care to our patients. To develop a relationship and help them navigate the health-care system is truly gratifying.”

Family Medicine Physician

Dr. Fortier is the VP Medical Services/Vice-Président – Services Médicaux, Assistant Professor, for the University of Manitoba and works in Southern Health-Santé Sud.

He states that working and living in a rural community like Southern Health-Santé Sud allowed him to practice family medicine as it was always intended to be – the full spectrum from babies to seniors and everything in between.

Some of that involved offering primary care, emergency care and acute care services. Dr. Fortier indicates that,

“There is something really rewarding to fully understanding the patient in the context of their family within the context of their community.”

VP Medical Services / Vice-Président – Services Médicaux
Assistant Professor, the University of Manitoba

South Africa was home to Dr. Carine Minders where she also trained and practiced Family Medicine along-side her father Dr. Louis Minders.

Carine, with her parents decided to move to Canada just over a year ago and looks forward to her younger brother relocating to Canada in the near future.

“Canada is truly an amazing country with multiple different cultures and nationalities working towards a common goal”.

Dr. Minders says it was easy to embrace Canada as her new home because she found there were no cultural barriers and English was her first language.

She chose Manitoba because she knew another South African doctor working in Brandon and as a result, Dr. Minders currently works as a full time Hospitalist at Brandon Regional Health Centre, which also includes some shifts in the Emergency department.

“I knew very little about the different provinces in Canada, but after living here for just over a year now, I would choose Manitoba again! I cannot say enough good things about the hospital and I consider all the people there as my new and opted extended family. There is a special atmosphere of camaraderie when you walk through the doors in the morning and I am happy to be at work every day.”

Dr. Minders looks forward to starting a new Trans Health Clinic in Brandon this spring, stating that she was extremely proud to be part of such a wonderful health system. She indicated that she was able to practice first class evidence-based medicine to all people regardless of their financial background. Dr. Minders can focus on providing the best healthcare for each and every patient without first checking if their health care plan allows me to do so. I am proud that we can also practice a lot of preventative care and we have proper screening guidelines.

“I think family practice in Canada has allowed me to do what I truly believe in: Holistic patient care. Manitoba has a reputation for being the friendliest province, and I can testify to that as ”being fact.”

Family Medicine Physician

Amber Chrisp is a health-care aide working in Flin Flon’s emergency department. It’s a role that keeps her busy and fulfilled, providing her with a strong sense that she is making a difference in her community, each and every day.

Caring for others has always come naturally for Amber Chrisp. A single mother to three boys, she was looking for a career that was both meaningful and that would support her family. Born and raised in Flin Flon, Chrisp found the perfect fit working as a health-care aide (HCA). The role allows her to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families right at home in her own community.

“I’ve been a health-care aide for the past 24 years and would not change a thing. From the smiles on patient’s faces to the hugs I’ve received, it has always made me feel grateful for having the opportunity to work in such a fulfilling field.”

Health-care aides support many different areas within the health care system. Chrisp began her career working in a long-term care facility and then moved into a hospital setting, working in an acute medicine/pediatric unit. For the past five years, Chrisp has been working full time in Flin Flon’s General Hospital Emergency Department, an important member of a multidisciplinary team of Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, Emergency Physicians and a Respiratory Therapist.

“No two days are ever alike, it’s such an exciting career.” I chose the emergency department to challenge myself in a new area of health care.”

Navigating the fast-paced and often high-pressure environment of an emergency department is challenging, but Amber remains a patient and calm support for those in need of care, offering a comforting word or a hand to hold as she goes about her daily tasks

“We see patients in all levels of acuity, and every day I am inspired to better myself to provide the best level of care I can to help my patients in their healing process.”

As a team player, Chrisp understands the value her role brings to a patient’s overall health care experience. Transporting patients, assisting physicians with procedures, preparing suture trays, sanitizing rooms for safety, and using her CPR training to perform chest compressions during emergency codes are just some of the activities that Amber is trained to support. While some days are more difficult than others, Chrisp always gives 110 per cent to her patients, helping them stay calm in stressful situations and ensuring they are well taken care of during their stay.

“I pride myself on being able to help the team and our patients anyway I can within my scope of practice to make each patient’s experience a positive one.”

Health Care Aide

“It’s the patients, that relationship with them. Knowing that I helped encourage somebody, anybody, to push through and find their strength in a time where it’s near impossible to, because it’s easier to stay in the dark than it is to see the light.”

Health Care Aide

Ran An graduated in July 2020 and began practicing as a Physician Assistant (PA) at St. Boniface Hospital Cardiac Sciences.

“I was a registered nurse for seven years and worked on a vascular surgery unit and ICU. I worked with multiple PAs who exposed me to the profession, and it allowed me to see there was an opportunity to expand my career.”

Cardiac Sciences includes cardiac surgery and cardiology, so most of Ran’s patients have had major cardiac events or deterioration of their heart function. A typical day for Ran begins with a review of the patient load for the day, what patient issues occurred overnight, what patient issues need to be addressed that day and what challenges there may be to send a patient home. This review forms the basis of developing a plan for the day for each patient, including ordering appropriate investigations, prescribing medications, and collaborating with other allied health-care teams. She also assists with admitting new patients to the ward by conducting patient histories and physicals.

“Starting my career as a PA during COVID-19 certainly heightened my awareness of the need for personal protective equipment and the importance of wearing it properly to prevent transmission of the virus. As well, keeping up-to-date with COVID infection prevention and control is paramount for the safety of our patients and their families as well as for our own safety and the safety of our families.”

An feels privileged to be working with cardiac patients.

“This was the right career choice for me. Any cardiac event is always life-changing for the patient and I am proud to play a role in their care in the hospital as well as helping them make choices that will lead to their well-being when they leave the hospital.”

Physician Assistant

Alexandra Abt has been a Physician Assistant in Acute Care Family Medicine Department at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre for two years. Alexandra works on the 40-bed in-patient ward along- side 24 family physicians.

A typical day for Alexandra involves rounds, assessing patients, ordering blood work and imaging, working with doctors, residents, nurses, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, home care, communicating with physicians regarding care plans and discharge plans.

Working in rural Manitoba, Abt recalls an occasion where her intervention ensured a patient with multiple organ issues received life-saving care from a specialist in Winnipeg and was able to be returned to Dauphin for on-going care.

“I love the variety of my work,” said Alexandra, adding, “it is truly a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care in hospital and ensuring continuity of care as we transition patients home safely.”

Physician Assistant

“Health Sciences Centre (HSC). is Manitoba’s trauma centre for the province, so there are many areas for advancement. The profession of Respiratory Therapy is evolving — at HSC, there are different roles and opportunities for involvement where I can learn new skills and expand my knowledge.

As a member of the Allied Health Research committee, I am connected with other members of allied health and the research projects that various professions are involved in. It’s also a great resource for assistance with any research ideas.”

Respiratory Therapist

“I really enjoyed my time as a student at Health Science Centre (HSC). The team has been a great group to learn from — their passion drives them to increase their skills and knowledge to be the best respiratory therapists they can be.

They care about each other and this made me want to come back. I was happy to accept a job offer in the intensive care unit because the work keeps me constantly on my feet. The most complex and critical patients are cared for in this facility, so it’s very rewarding to look after patients who need it the most.”

Student Respiratory Therapist

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