Not only is the learning very hands on, there is deep experience with preceptors who get to know the student and vice versa. In fact, the preceptors are extremely invested in the learning of each medical student. Preceptors become true mentors who work with the students over a considerable amount of time so that students can be well trained and improve.
“Our grads tell us that for years after ICC, they are still seeing the unfolding of how ICC has changed their learning because they had deep coaching, deep relationships, and they had a key role in the care of their patients,” says Dr. Darren Nichols, Clerkship Coordinator, ICC program at the U of A.
While ICC is certainly beneficial when considering an eventual rural medical career, what really stands out is that the comprehensive learning experience is spot on. “People say ICC is only if you want to go work rural, and I think that doesn’t make any sense,” says Glynn Martin who did his third-year clerkship in Whitecourt. “What ICC trains you to be is someone who thinks holistically about the patient and has all aspects of medicine on your mind at all times.”
Dr. Michael Caffaro, Assistant Registrar, College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta, is a former ICC preceptor. Historically, ICC students are the pick of the crop when it comes to residency opportunities, according to Dr. Caffaro. “These students come out as a very well-rounded group of medical residents. Disproportionate to the numbers in their medical class, they have gone on to become physician leaders in their communities and professions – and have extraordinary success with their ability to access residency and postgraduate training programs beyond what you would expect if they had stayed in an urban or academic center.”
The last word goes to Breanna McSweeney, who summed it up nicely on the last day of her clerkship in Ponoka. “The leap of faith is worth it because you get some awesome learning opportunities from ICC and the rural experience.”
Banner photo: Victoria Elliot, third year ICC student in Bonnyville. Photo credit: Marvin Polis