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Emergency Department

CancerCare Closing the Care Gap

World Cancer Day is recognized globally every February 4 to raise awareness about cancer, improve access to cancer education, and promote personal, collective and government action for cancer control. World Cancer Day is a worldwide positive movement for people to connect and come together in support of accessible and equitable cancer care for all (

In 2023, the World Cancer Day theme was “Closing the Care Gap”. Watch these videos, presented on World Cancer Day by CancerCare Manitoba, to learn about Nurse Navigators and what to expect on a cancer journey.

CancerCare Nurse Navigators

A video highlighting the role of Nurse Navigators, and a patient’s perspective on being supported by a Navigator.

Webinar: Closing the Care Gap – What to expect on your cancer journey

This webinar touches on cancer surgery, radiation and systemic therapy, what care looks like for pediatric patients, and psychosocial supports such as counselling which is available to patients and their loved ones.

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Cancer Unit expansion at Russell Health Centre nears

Construction on a $2.5 million building addition to Russell Health Centre for an expanded cancer care unit is set to begin this April. General Contractor Jacobson Commercial has been awarded the construction tender, and if all goes well, construction on the expanded facility should be completed by the end of 2023.

Through dedication, commitment and passion for the project, the Expanding Community Cancer Committee, represented by 15 area communities surrounding the Russell-Binscarth area, raised over $1.8 million of the $2.5 million needed to move ahead with construction. In May 2022, the province announced that it would contribute the remaining $700,000 so the expansion could proceed.

Once completed, the expanded cancer unit will be nearly four times the size of the current area, with a separate entrance to the facility, seven treatment bays, and a waiting room and physician’s office.

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) CEO Brian Schoonbaert says the region has collaborated with health partners and stakeholders to plan for the necessary building parameters, construction costs and associated timelines for this important capital project. PMH will contribute annual operating costs for the expansion, including staffing and supplies.

“We are grateful for the hard work, dedication and commitment of the Expanding Community Cancer Committee and local support from the entire area,” said Brian Schoonbaert, CEO of PMH. “With the support of Manitoba Health, this much-needed new building addition will better serve patients in this part of our health region and provide a better physical environment for our staff to provide care.”

Expanding Community Care Committee President Gloria Tibbatts can’t wait for construction to begin, and adds that fundraising efforts will continue to contribute to additional equipment and other possibilities.

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Shoal Lake Yellowhead Clinic secures Nurse Practitioner services

Nurse Practitioner (NP) Cathy Scofield-Singh

The Yellowhead Community Clinic in Shoal Lake welcomes Nurse Practitioner (NP) Cathy Scofield-Singh, who will begin seeing patients on March 13. Scofield-Singh will be joining the Shoal Lake Medical Team on a permanent basis. Cathy will also provide coverage to the personal care home while NP Tanya Radford is on maternity leave. Once Tanya returns from maternity leave, the two NPs will work in Shoal Lake.

The Clinic will also be served by Hamiota physician Dr. Chris Brenneman, who will work some itinerant shifts starting in May to continue to provide services to Shoal Lake and area residents. Dr. Heather Gooden, who practices full-time in Hamiota, will remain to oversee patients within the Shoal Lake Transitional Care Unit.

Nurse Practitioners work independently and can provide many services, including:

  • Completing assessments and physical exams, including pap tests and pre-natal exams;
  • Diagnosing and managing common issues and chronic conditions;
  • Prescribing medications and therapies;
  • Ordering diagnostic tests like blood work, x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs;
  • Performing minor procedures like suturing, biopsies, wart and mole removal; and
  • Referring to other health providers, including specialists.

Schofield-Singh comes to the Shoal Lake Clinic after working at the Ste. Rose Primary Health Care Centre, where she started with Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) in 2018.
Cathy did a short locum in Shoal Lake in the fall of 2022, and the clinic staff and board were so happy with her services they approached her about a move to Shoal Lake. This worked for Cathy personally, so it is a positive move for both the community and Cathy. She will be a welcomed addition to the medical services team in Shoal Lake.

Yellowhead Clinic, Shoal Lake

As an NP since 2013, Cathy has over 30 years of experience as a Registered Nurse (RN) with a diverse nursing career. She graduated from the University of Manitoba’s Masters of Nursing NP program in October 2013. Before becoming an NP, she also had an opportunity to work in remote northern communities as a Primary Care Nurse for over ten years.

PMH Primary Health Care Manager Diane Ciprick says the Region was pleased to facilitate conversations with Scofield-Singh, allowing her to move into the opportunity in Shoal Lake.
The health region continues to be very active in Nurse Practitioner recruitment and retention efforts. To date, 23 NPs provide service within 27 communities, which include shifts on the Mobile Clinic, services at medical clinics and in the 7th Street Health Access Centre.

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BRHC Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Temporary Relocation

As part of the Brandon Regional Health Centre (BRHC) expansion project, pile driving of posts into the ground close to the north wall of BRHC will start to take place. This will require the relocation of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which is expected to occur near the end of the week of February 6th and continue into the following week(s).

Due to noise and vibration during pile driving close to the hospital wall, NICU babies and their moms will be moved to 200 Surgery (2nd floor) after delivery. Visitation in the NICU may also be limited to one person per baby due to space. If the NICU is at capacity, you and your baby may be transferred to Winnipeg.

In addition, some maternity patients and their babies may also be transferred to 200 surgery after delivery. Patients moved may have to share a room with other moms, and the space may not accommodate a support person overnight.

This part of the construction phase is expected to be completed the second week of March but is subject to change.

Please continue to check our website or follow us on social media for updates.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during the construction phase.

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Western Manitoba Cancer Centre Expansion Project Scheduled to Begin Will Require Parking Changes

The expansion and renovation of the Western Manitoba Cancer Centre (WMCC) will soon be underway. This project will see a 7,000 square feet addition and renovation of existing space, including exam rooms, treatment spaces, and the Centre of Hope being constructed on the east side of WMCC.

Construction fencing will start going up February 21st, blocking off WMCC’s parking lot. Six-hour parking meters and accessible parking spots have been relocated close to the facility along Frederick Street and the Nurse’s Residence to accommodate this change. There are also 2-hour parking meters along Park Street east of WMCC. We ask patients to allow enough time to park for their appointment.

The front entrance drive-through will remain open for drop-off and pick-up only. Please do not park there for any extended period of time. The front entrance will also be used for patients coming to WMCC by ambulance.

Continue to check our website or follow us on social media for updates and possible changes.

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Brandon Regional Health Centre (BRHC) expansion project continues with the foundation work of the new building located on the north side of BRHC.

Pile driving of posts into the ground close to the BRHC front entrance is scheduled for Saturday, February 25. This will require the main entrance into BRHC and the traffic loop to be closed on this day from 7 am until 6 pm.

February 25, the main BRHC entrance will be closed. Please note the following changes:

  • Dialysis patients brought by a Handivan or Medical Transport van will use the laneway entrance off Frederick Street.
  • Outpatients/Diagnostic Imaging Patients and Patients being discharged: The Emergency Department (ER) ramp can be used for drop off and pick up. Please use the staff doors, NOT the ER doors to enter BRHC. This ramp is not to be used for any extended period of time.
  • General Visitors will enter through the Centre for Adult Psychiatry (CAP) entrance off Russell Street and follow the signage to the main lobby and information desk.

Please refer to the map and watch for signage. Information is subject to change.

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CAREER SPOTLIGHT: Health Information Services

The Health Information Services (HIS) team includes Health Information Management Professionals, Medical Transcriptionists and Clerical staff who work in health centres throughout Prairie Mountain Health. This team is about managing healthcare data; collecting, storing, managing and transmitting a patient’s electronic medical records (EMR) in a professional, caring, and confidential manner.

Clerical Staff (Clerk III)

Clerk IIIs work in various areas within the HIS program, such as patient registration, switchboard and the records processing unit. The Clerk III Health Information staff are responsible for accurate and timely registration and processing of the admission/discharge/transfer (ADT) system while following the Provincial and Regional Registration Guidelines and practices. In addition, they process records, including secure storage, maintain the confidentiality of health information, and ensure all records are complete and accurate. This position also supports communication within and outside the facility. The switchboard is the communication hub of the facilities. In this area, they receive patient inquiries, page/communicate with health care providers, and operate the call centre for all Emergency codes within the facilities.

Education Requirements: Clerical staff in HIS are required to have a certificate in Medical Terminology. The Canadian Red Cross and Red River College offer Medical Terminology certificate programs.

Medical Transcriptionists

Medical Transcription changes voice-recorded reports into written texts that become a part of the permanent health record. Physicians and other health care providers dictate information gathered during patient encounters, and medical transcriptionists listen to the recording and transcribe it. These medical reports include clinical findings and therapeutic procedures in the health record and transmission to physicians and other healthcare facilities.

Education Requirements: All Medical Transcriptionists graduate from a recognized Medical Transcription Program. Check out Canscribe Career College or the Academy of Learning College offers the Medical Transcription certificate program as well as Medical Office Assistant (both needed if attending Academy of Learning College).

Health Information Management Professionals (HIMP)

Health Information Management Professionals provide services in all aspects of health records management. This includes data collection, disclosure, retention and the proper disposal of health information. The HIMP codes and summarizes all inpatient and same-day care health records accurately and efficiently. This is done by following the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) Standards and utilizing the appropriate Coding Classification System. This health data is transformed into information that can be analyzed and used to help in healthcare delivery, patient safety, and decision-making.

Education Requirements: All Health Information Management Professionals are graduates of a Health Information Management Professional Program and can be certified with the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA). The Canadian HealthCare Association (CHA Learning – online) or Red River College offers the Health Information Management Professional certificate program.

All of the functions within HIS are tied together with our Administrative Assistants and our Management team. The Health Information Services portfolio offers plenty of room for growth and career advancement and is currently recruiting for positions within our team!

Visit our Prairie Mountain Health careers page at

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Exploring Citrus Fruits this Winter

The winter months are the perfect time to enjoy citrus fruits. These brightly colored fruits are in season bursting with flavor and add can add a little bit of “sunshine” into those often grey cold winter days!

Eating seasonal fruits has many benefits. It is an affordable and delicious way to add variety to your eating. By choosing fruits in season, there is a greater likelihood that they have had the chance to naturally ripen in the sun, will be fresher, taste better and have the highest amount of nutrition, antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Citrus fruits are a good source of fibre with many health benefits. Citrus fruits are known for being rich in vitamin C, which help you to absorb iron, helping to beat winter fatigue. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant which helps to protect the body from damage and helps support your immune system, maintaining healthy skin, bones and blood vessels.

Here are a few different ways to add citrus this winter:

  • Squirt some lemon or lime juice in your water for a burst of flavor
  • Top your favourite hot cereal or yogurt with slices of oranges or mandarins
  • Add slices of grapefruit or oranges to salads or wraps
  • Peel and enjoy as a simple and quick snack

(Sources Used: Mayo Clinic and Unlock )

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PMH organizes health care students tour as part of recruitment activities

If Willie Nelson’s “On the road again” wasn’t blaring, it should have been! Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) hosted a rural bus tour for health-care students January 21-22 and the weekend initiative drew great reviews. PMH Recruitment Supervisor Larissa Kominko says nine students took advantage of the opportunity to visit several communities and facilities in the health region and came away with a better appreciation of the numerous advantages of working and living in rural Manitoba.

“Spending time and making connections with the students was so rewarding,” Kominko said. “Being able to showcase the amazing lifestyle of rural Manitoba, the hospitality of small towns and all the programs and services that our local hospitals and personal care homes have to offer was amazing. I think it is fair to say that all involved made a very good impression, as students were extremely overwhelmed and excited about all they saw and heard over the two days.“

This year, health-care students from both the University of Manitoba and Brandon University were part of the two-day tour, with site visits to Dauphin Regional Health Centre, St. Paul’s PCH, Grandview Health Centre, Roblin Health Centre/PCH, and Russell Health Centre. During the road trip, information was also shared about communities the bus travelled through, which included Gilbert Plains, Neepawa, Minnedosa, Shoal Lake and Rossburn.

Planned activities at Asessippi Ski Resort (between Roblin and Russell), and Northgate Trails, located in Riding Mountain National Park, provided participants with a chance to get some exercise and have some fun!

Some comments from participants included:

“Thanks for the opportunity to explore rural communities and future potential careers. I didn’t realize it, but I really needed to get outside of the city.”

“I genuinely had an amazing time this weekend. Thank you so much!”

“Thanks to everyone who organized the trip. It was a really great experience seeing all of the communities. I definitely have a lot to think about!”

Kominko says the tour built upon a similar initiative that was organized in 2019, before the COVID pandemic surfaced. She adds, the region is always evaluating and improving upon the various strategies it undertakes in regards to recruitment and retention initiatives. She stated plans are already in the works to hold a smiliar event in another part of the geographically large health region.

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Medical students gather in Brandon as part of rural interest group

In partnership with the Manitoba Health Care Providers Network (MHCPN) and Max Rady College of Medicine, Faculty of Sciences, Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) hosted the University of Manitoba medical student Rural Interest Group in Brandon on January 27-28, 2023. The Rural Interest Group (RIG) weekend highlighted the benefits of practicing medicine in rural communities and available lifestyle opportunities. Some 34 first and second-year medical students took part.

PMH continues to be a strong advocate for the initiative as it provides the health region with additional opportunities to engage medical students early in their training. Clinical workstations were set up at Brandon Regional Health Centre that allowed students to put their skills to the test by undertaking tasks like suturing, casting and airway management.

Student RIG Co-President Sydney McLaughlin says after a brief event pause, due to the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the students learned a lot and had great fun at the same time.

“The weekend went really well and I am really happy with how things went!” McLaughlin stated.
“On behalf of both the Rural Interest Group and the University of Manitoba Medical Classes of 2025 and 2026, I would like to extend a huge thank you to PMH for welcoming us back this year. These events are so important for our education as they expose students to what it is like to work in rural medicine, provide opportunities for students to network with doctors and residents, and give us an idea of what it is like to work within the health region.”

Both MHCPN and PMH sincerely appreciate the support of regional physicians, staff and volunteers who help make the RIG weekend a success.

Sydney McLaughlin, Student RIG Co-President
Medical Students participate in a clinical casting workshop
Medical students have some down time to try out their painting skills.
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