Whitfield got hands-on experience in Vermilion this summer.
Local medical student Evan Whitfield is heading back to the UofA in Edmonton for a few more years before he will return home as a doctor.
But after just completing his first year, the Vermilion & Area Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee awarded him a $20,000 bursary where he will receive $5,000 per year, and upon completion will be invited back to practice in Vermilion.
In addition, Whitfield was also given the opportunity to shadow anesthesiologist, Dr. Andrew Liebenberg, for seven days this August.
The adventure included chances to work with two general surgeons, a nurse in the emergency department, an endoscopist, a podiatrist, and a urologist.
“Evan is very keen on coming back and practicing, and Dr. Liebenberg has been a fantastic teacher and mentor, encouraging people to practice in rural Alberta,” said Mayor Caroline McAuley.
Whitfield began planning in Grade 9 or 10 to find a career where he could help people and thought becoming a doctor would be a fulfilling way to live.
He was born in Vermilion and delivered by Dr. Stewart Hunter, and wants to continue the tradition of delivering the utmost care.
During his shadow experience this summer, he enjoyed having the opportunity to see the work environment, and how closely medical teams work together in a rural areas.
He got to scrub up, meet patients, and assist patients and physicians with their conditions.
“I got to hand people tools and do some suturing which was an amazing experience-to test my mettle in a real medical environment,” said Whitfield.
“You don’t know how you are going to react for sure when you see an open wound or incision.”
He said that being raised in a farm environment you see a lot, and learn how to deal with stress and the biological side of life.
He is very thankful to have received the bursary but said he is more excited for the opportunity to work with the town than any financial benefits.
“Evan’s shadowing experience may help leverage him to get into the residency program he wants, giving him an upper edge and directing him where he wants to go,” said McAuley.
He plans to develop his training around what a small town needs and said Vermilion has always been a bit like his hometown, that is is definitely within his home territory and home “stomping grounds”.
“You never know what you are going to fall in love with. I am very fortunate to be able to start honing my skills now because many people have to wait to get their feet wet.”