Being a freelancer for RhPAP has been a great pleasure of mine.
It’s a gig I enjoy sharing with others, telling them it’s a great fit for me, as I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and my wife is a nurse in Calgary. Now living in Airdrie, RhPAP assignments give me a chance to return to my rural roots, and learn more about my wife’s passion—health care.
My RhPAP adventure began in October 2017, when I travelled with a bus-load of nearly 50 health professions students from Calgary to Milk River. It was really interesting to see rural magic leave a lasting impression with the students, some whom barely knew life beyond the borders of a large city.
Watching the surprise and delight of rural medicine and lifestyles has been a theme I’ve been happy to explore with RhPAP. Seeing skills sessions with students from high schools and post-secondary institutions unfold in the Alberta towns of Milk River, Pincher Creek, Rimbey and Sundre has been an eye-opening experience. The students are brilliant, and the instructors are so passionate and patient as they impart knowledge through hands-on training in things like wound care, suturing, intravenous (IV) starts, physiotherapy, intubation, and spinal immobilization.
Each town brings their own flavour in the meals and entertainment following the Saturday skills sessions and on the Sunday mornings.
I’ve filmed novice riders enjoying horses, people who would never otherwise fire a gun skeet-shooting against the backdrop of the badlands of Southern Alberta, and students getting their first taste of motorsports action at Central Alberta Raceways—and loving it!
I’ve also visited Bassano, High River, and Rocky Mountain House for other events and filming sessions focused on the well-being, career enrichment, and appreciation of health-care workers.
This job has also led to enjoying sides of Banff and Calgary I hadn’t previously enjoyed.
What sticks with me most is the attitude of physicians like Dr. Gavin Parker in Pincher Creek. The Winnipeg-born and raised doctor credits rural health care with giving him the opportunities he has to work as a general practitioner while raising his family with his wife, Jennifer. The duo give back beyond their day jobs of teaching and medicine by coaching judo with 80 kids in the evenings. When a child comes to his office, they get a warm welcome and a razzing only a coach can give—far from the stereotype of a cold clinic.
For me, stories like that are worth sharing, and make me proud to be an RhPAP freelancer.
- Britton Ledinham, RhPAP Freelancer