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Holistic and collaborative

A focus on rural health care at Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy

By Mandy Cook

As part of its special obligation to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial has focused on the development and support of rural health care during the past decade.

The Faculty of Medicine has expanded its MD program and established the Discipline of Family Medicine to allow more students from Newfoundland and Labrador study medicine. The Society of Rural Physicians Canada recognized the faculty seven times (five times between 2010-20) for producing doctors who practise in rural areas 10 years after graduation; in 2018 Memorial matched 67.7 per cent of total graduates to rural family medicine residencies.

At the Faculty of Nursing, the nurse practitioner program, introduced in 2013 at the master’s level, is producing nurse practitioners who work across Newfoundland and Labrador in community clinics, emergency departments, out-patient clinics, family physicians’ offices and other health-care locations. A good thing, too, as nurse practitioners will play a key role as the province transitions to primary health care.

In addition, pharmacists are taking on expanded roles and are increasingly being recognized as the medication management experts of the health-care team. In March of 2016, the School of Pharmacy’s entry-to-practice doctor of pharmacy degree was approved. Pharmacists are now able to administer vaccinations, hold prescriptive authority for minor ailments, provide smoking cessation, make therapeutic substitutions, change drug dosages and renew or extend prescriptions.

This story is part of Defining a Decade, a new feature in the Gazette for the winter 2020 semester. Stay tuned for stories on Tuesdays and Thursdays about the accomplishments, achievements and impacts that defined Memorial’s last 10 years. The full list of stories published to-date is available here


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