By Treena Mielke
A committee comprised of a group of community minded individuals are steadily working behind the scenes to ensure Rimbey and area has the best possible medical services available.
The Rimbey and Area Health Professions Attraction and Retention Committee meet monthly to discuss ways to attract medical professionals to the community. They also discuss ways to show appreciation for the medical personnel who already work in the community.
This spring the group held a pop up tailgate party in the west parking lot of the Rimbey Hospital. Personnel from the medical clinic, Rimbey Eye Care, dentists offices, tthe hospital, the local pharmacies, emergency medical staff and the RCMP were invited.
Committee chairperson, Lana Curle said the party was well attended.
“We were really pleased at how well it went. It gave everyone a chance to mix and mingle and it gave us an opportunity to show our appreciation.”
Last summer the committee invited 48 health professional students to come to Rimbey to give them a taste of life in rural Alberta. The students were set up at medical stations at the hospital and given hands on experience in various procedures such as suturing, ultrasound and starting intravenous drips. There was also a STARS bus parked in the hospital parking lot.
Curle said she was impressed with the Rimbey doctors’ willingness to participate in the event and work with the students.
“Every physician in Rimbey came out and assisted in the training day,” she said.
While visiting Rimbey the students visited Central Alberta Raceways and Pas ka Poo Park. They also attended a barbecue at the home of Ponoka County Reeve Paul McLauchlin, his wife, Melinda and their children. The McLauchlins laid out the red carpet for the students providing food and entertainment including a rodeo demonstration.
“They got to experience the friendliness of a small town,” Curle said. “Many of these students were new Canadians and it was wonderful to be able to share with them the social aspects of Rimbey.
Any health care professional who is considering Rimbey needs to consider the town is well situated and only an hour and a half from larger centres such as Edmonton or Calgary.
Curle noted that Rimbey now has six physicians, four of whom are female. Dr. Kristine Rylance was born in Rimbey, grew up in Winfield and is now practicing in Rimbey.
While the picture is fairly bright regarding doctors in Rimbey, nursing staff is needed, she said.
“Things are fairly stable now, but we do need more nursing personel; both practical nurses and RNs.”
Members of the Rimbey and AreaHealth
Other activities that showcase Rimbey as a community for consideration by health professionals include events such as health and recruitment fairs.
Members of the Rimbey and Area Health Professions Attraction and Retention Committee are Lana Curle, Paul McLauchlin, Nancy Hartford, Mel Durand, Peggy Makofka,Colby Corkle, Linda Nevodony, Rebekah Seidel and Faith Pilgrim.