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PMH welcomes new Filipino health-care workers

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) has warmly welcomed additional Filipino health-care workers recruited as part of Manitoba’s Philippines Recruitment Initiative. Since the first regional arrivals in November 2023, it marks a total of 14 internationally educated health care professionals that have been recruited to PMH as of early March 2024.

Neepawa recently said hello to two new recruits, both working at Country Meadows Personal Care Home (PCH). Meliza Diapano, a certified health care aide, arrived in Manitoba with her family in January 2024. Jennifer Diangco, who is an internationally educated nurse, arrived in late February.

In Hartney, health care aide Danil Hebrio began work at Hartney PCH and the Russell Personal Care Home welcomed health care aide Eugene Reyes. Both started in January.

Dauphin Personal Care Home has two new health care aides, Andrea Almodal and Jamaica Alabot. Andrea and her family arrived in Manitoba in late January, and Jamaica arrived in Dauphin in mid-February. In Swan River, Hazel Mae Pesigan arrived in mid-March and will be working at Swan Valley PCH as internationally-educated nurse.

Brandon welcomed Betty Jean Malagum in late February. She is a health care aide working at Fairview Home.

“We’re very pleased to welcome these new recruits to Canada, Manitoba and our health care region!” stated Brian Schoonbaert, CEO of Prairie Mountain Health. “We will continue to work with our dedicated staff and communities to ensure their transition, mentorship and orientation goes as smoothly as possible”.

Overall, there have been recruits to Brandon, Dauphin, Hartney, Minnedosa, Neepawa, Swan River, Virden and Russell. PMH continues to work with provincial partners on the initiative to recruit to more regional communities during April and May.  

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Prairie Mountain Health Announces New CEO

The Board of Directors of Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) is pleased to announce that Treena Slate has accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Slate will assume the role from Brian Schoonbaert, who will retire effective April 5, 2024.

The Board expressed sincere thanks and appreciation for Schoonbaert’s commitment, dedication and strong leadership as CEO of the health region. “Brian’s commitment to providing quality health care and supporting all PMH staff, physicians and volunteers has always been evident. All who have worked with him will miss Brian’s positive, welcoming, genuine approach.”

Lon Cullen, Board Chair, is pleased to welcome Slate to the role of Chief Executive Officer. “Treena is a familiar face for many in Prairie Mountain Health and the province. With over 30 years in healthcare and 15 years in a leadership role, Treena is bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge into the role of Chief Executive Officer.”

The PMH Board of Directors undertook an extensive search across Canada for a CEO to replace Schoonbaert. Included in the recruitment process, the Board of Directors asked PMH staff what they felt were important qualities for the Chief Executive Officer. “We appreciate that PMH staff took the time to provide their input into the selection criteria, and the Board was able to use this feedback in selecting candidates,” Cullen commented. “Those that know Treena recognize her compassion, openness, decisiveness and energy, which will be important qualities to lead Prairie Mountain Health in these challenging times.”

Slate is excited to be stepping into the CEO role. “I am following in some incredible footsteps – Brian will be truly missed by all who worked with him. Prairie Mountain Health has an incredible team of over 7,500 individuals providing quality health care to the residents of PMH – and I feel very fortunate to work alongside these dedicated staff.”

Slate has held many roles during her years in healthcare, including a staff nurse, educator, public health nurse, manager, director and most recently, Regional Lead – Acute Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer for Prairie Mountain Health.

Slate recently completed her Master of Health Administration through the Johnson Shoyoma School of Public Policy in 2023.

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Virtual Information Session for Nursing Students

Are you a Manitoba nursing student in your final year of study?

Join us at one of our virtual nursing career information sessions coming up on Monday, Dec. 18!

This free information session will offer you:

  • Information on opportunities, supports, and incentives that may be available to you
  • Advice from recent nursing graduates about transitioning to the workforce
  • Guidance from health care recruiters and nursing leaders on applying for jobs and the opportunity to ask questions

Please note that we will be offering sessions at two time slots – one at 12 p.m. and one at 7 p.m. – via the GoTo Webinar platform.

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Pictured: Katrin Olarte, second from left, Jeffrey Olarte and 2-year-old daughter, Kristelle, with Chandel Bailey-Morrison (middle). Shared Health representatives- Roselyn Garcia and Jhunell De Rivera 

PMH Philippine Recruitment Update

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) warmly welcomed four more new Filipino health-care workers, some with family members, who were recruited earlier as part of Manitoba’s Philippines Recruitment Initiative earlier this year. The new arrivals landed at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport on November 28. They were understandably tired but excited for the next steps in their journey. Here’s some additional background on Prairie Mountain Health region’s newest residents.

Jay-ar Felipe is an internationally educated nurse who will be working at Dauphin Regional Health Centre as an Undergraduate Nurse Employee – Internationally Educated Nurse until such time gap training is complete as full licensure as a Registered Nurse is obtained.

Ruth Navarro will be working as a health care aide at Rideau Personal Care Home, Brandon. Ruth is arriving with her husband, Joey, and 7-year-old boy, Ethan. Ruth, excitedly, will be reunited with her sister, who lives in Brandon. 

Pictured:  Lisa Merrill, Provincial Nursing Practice Lead, Kris Reynon (Michelle’s husband), Chandel Bailey-Morrison (DRHC Care Team Manager), Jay-ar Felipe, Michelle Reynon, a new recruit (unknown name  for another health region, Ruth Navarro, Monika Warren, Chief Operating Officer for Provincial Health Services, Joey Navarro (Ruth’s husband) and Ethan Navarro (Ruth & Joey’s son).

Michelle Reynon will be employed as a health care aide at Swan River Lodge. Michelle is arriving with her husband, Dan. 

Katrin Olarte will be employed as a health care aide at Westman Nursing Home in Virden. Katrin will be arriving with her husband, Jeffrey and 2-year-old daughter, Kristelle. 

“We’re very pleased to welcome these recruits and their family members to Manitoba and our health care region!” stated Brian Schoonbaert, CEO of Prairie Mountain Health.” 

“We know our staff, community partners and stakeholders will go that extra mile to make their arrival and settling process as smooth as possible!”

Larissa Kominko, PMH Recruitment Manager, says members of regional care teams volunteered their time to assist and welcome the new arrivals to PMH.

“Thank you to Chandel Bailey-Morrison, Amanda Watts, Vicky Ketch and Amanda Campbell, who are graciously helping with the arrival, settlement and orientation of the Philippines recruits to our province and the region. We depend and sincerely appreciate their willingness to help,” Kominko added.

Pictured: Jay-ar Felipe arrives at Winnipeg International Airport and is greeted by Chandel Bailey Morrison, Care Team Manager of Dauphin Regional Health Centre.

PMH is already working on its next arrivals, which will be welcomed to Minnedosa, Neepawa, and Russell throughout December and January. 

Felipe gets into the spirit of the unusually warm weather when arriving in Dauphin.
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PMH welcomes new Filipino health-care workers

Treena Slate of Prairie Mountain Health, greets Shayne Salonga and Vicente Ganzon at Winnipeg International Airport October 31.

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) warmly welcomed two new Filipino health-care workers recruited earlier this year as part of Manitoba’s Philippines Recruitment Initiative. Shayne Salonga and Vicente Ganzon arrived at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport on October 31, tired but excited for the next steps in their journey.

Salonga, a registered nurse (RN), will head to Russell to work at the Russell Health Centre. Ganzon, a health care aide (HCA), will relocate to Swan River to work in long-term care.

“Our government is working to build up health care teams, to improve patient care and achieve better work-life balance for front-line staff as part of our commitment to improve health care for all Manitobans,” stated Uzoma Asagwara, Minister of Health, Seniors and Long Term Care.

“Recruitment and retention are essential and we’re taking steps to make our health system a supportive and attractive place for skilled professionals to work. We’re pleased to welcome new nurses and health care aides from the Philippines and know they will quickly feel at home here.”

Vicente Ganzon dons a Swan Valley Stampeders hockey jersey in Swan River.

PMH expects to repeat the warm welcome offered to Ganzon and Salonga many times in the coming year as more skilled health-care workers and their families arrive from the Philippines destined for work in PMH communities that include Brandon, Dauphin, Ste. Rose, Hamiota, Hartney, Minnedosa, Neepawa, Russell, Swan River and Virden.

Salonga looks over the spacious view in Russell

“We’re very pleased to welcome Shayne and Vicente to Canada, Manitoba and our health care region!” stated Brian Schoonbaert, CEO of Prairie Mountain Health.”

“As they begin new chapters in their lives, it must be exciting in one sense and filled with some uncertainty in the next. We will work with our dedicated staff, health partners and stakeholders to ensure their transition and mentorship and the transition of other anticipated arrivals goes as smoothly as possible”.

“PMH is pleased to be part of efforts to recruit new health-care workers to Manitoba. Special thanks to Larissa Kominko, Recruitment Manager and Treena Slate, Regional Lead Acute Care and Chief Nursing Officer for their ongoing work to ensure these new members of our care teams are welcomed and oriented to our health system.”

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A day in the life of a Respiratory Therapist

A day in the life of… Taylor. Taylor has an important, life-saving job, but their profession is one that most people would not be able to describe. They are a registered respiratory therapist (RRT). Here is a snapshot of how Taylor spends their day.

Their shift starts in the hospital report room at 7:30 AM – coffee in hand, they are prepared for the 12-hour shift ahead of them. With their ever-present stethoscope around their neck and a pen in their pocket, Taylor learns from their co-worker, who is finishing the night shift, about the patient requirements for the day – six ventilated patients in ICU need assessments; two patients with tracheostomy tubes need care; three patients on the ward are on heated high flow oxygen devices; a breathing test has been ordered for a patient; and arterial blood gas needs to be drawn before a patient is sent home on oxygen.

At 7:45 AM, just as the report is finished, a “Code Blue” is called in the emergency department. Taylor rushes to the ED. They proceed to intubate and ventilate the patient to keep her airway open. They help the team administer life-saving respirations during the resuscitation. After 40 minutes of constant efforts to resuscitate the patient, the team is unsuccessful. Her grieving family arrives and as Taylor holds back tears they say “thank you for trying to save her”.

It’s now 8:35 AM. Taylor heads off to begin assessments of their patients and attend interdisciplinary rounds with the team in ICU. As they are about to enter the ICU, their pager goes off. They are needed in the NICU for a premature infant. The baby is born at just 32 weeks but is moaning and grunting and showing signs of increased work of breathing. Taylor starts the baby on nasal CPAP to open up his tiny lungs. Although the baby is small, he is in good health and his lungs begin working well. Mom, Dad and Grandparents cry with joy at this tiny miracle.

Throughout the rest of Taylor’s shift, they educate a patient with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) about his inhaled medications and discusses smoking cessation options. They take an arterial blood gas and set up a woman for oxygen at home to improve her shortness of breath with activities of daily living. Taylor assesses and manages patients in the intensive care unit on mechanical ventilators. Taylor discusses a plan for the tracheostomy patients with the physician to downsize or decannulate as part of the weaning process. They educate patients and other health care professionals about oxygen delivery devices.

You may wonder what type of health care professional gets to work in a variety of settings like Taylor. Taylor is a registered respiratory therapist. Not every respiratory therapist has a shift like Taylor’s. Among others, some work in the operating room as anesthesia assistants, others perform pulmonary function testing, research, work in home care or educate students. Respiratory therapists are important members of teams that provide care in hospitals, in clinics, in the community and in patients’ homes. The cycle of life and death is one of the profound and amazing things that a respiratory therapist gets to impact in the course of a day’s work. Whether it is in acute care, health prevention and promotion or diagnostic testing, the message is the same – respiratory therapists are dedicated to better breathing.

How does someone become a Respiratory Therapist?

Respiratory therapists graduate from three- or four-year programs (or equivalent) that include theory, lab and clinical components. In most jurisdictions, passing a credentialling exam and/or a license to practice is required following graduation.  Learn more about the Respiratory Therapy (BRT) program offered at the University of Manitoba.

Data from the federal government and the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists indicate a strong need for RTs in the next few years!  RTs can move from one province and work in another, but a provincial license to practice is required in most provinces.

For more information, contact the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists:
[email protected]

October 22-28, 2023 is Respiratory Therapist Week

See some of the Respiratory Therapists from around Prairie Mountain Health.

Hi, my name is Tina Szewczyk and my colleague is Erin Forsyth. We are the Registered Respiratory Therapists at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre. I have been an RRT for 27 years, and worked with PMH at the DRHC in acute care for 18 years. I was born and raised in McCreary. Erin Forsyth is standing with the ventilator. Erin has been an RRT since 2002. Previously working in the OR at Seven Oaks in Winnipeg, she relocated with her children and spouse, who also works at DRHC. She began here at DRHC in the Respiratory Clinic in Nov 2020, and has recently begun a permanent position at the DRHC in acute care. We are thrilled to have her join our Team at DRHC. Working to support the Respiratory Health of our friends, family and the north PMH  communities at large brings great satisfaction to us both.

Happy RT Week from the Respiratory Therapists at Brandon Rregional Health Centre!

Pictured L-R: Teresa Chapin, Kelley Fingas, Jennifer Sambrook, Alyssa Elliott and Kortney Blosha
Missing from Photo: Stephanie Nicholls, Teagan Kinsley, Rachel Veitch, Makenzie Riess, Lana Minuk, and Leah Sumner

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Nurse Practitioners recruited to PMH Region

Primary health-care providers to begin taking appointments in early June

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) is pleased to announce that three new Nurse Practitioners (NPs/Grad NPs) will soon begin seeing patients and clients within the communities of Carberry, Swan River and Virden. PMH CEO Brian Schoonbaert says recruitment and retention of health-care professionals remains a top priority for the health region and the Province, and growing the NP program within the region continues to see positive results.

Grad NP Jenny Ives will see clients at the Swan Valley Primary Care Centre

“Along with our health partners and stakeholders, which include our communities, we continue to look for ways to support, recruit and retain healthcare staff within PMH.  By having NPs provide services from base locations across our region, we can maintain the provision of primary care closer to home,” Schoonbaert said.

Upon receiving their full designation, 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.

During the first week of June, Nurse Practitioner Vicky Irwin will see clients at the Virden Medical Clinic and in Swan River, Grad NP Jenny Ives will see clients at the Swan Valley Primary Care Centre. In Carberry, Grad NP Robin Catton will begin seeing clients at the Carberry Medical Clinic, effective June 12. To make an appointment with the new NPs, contact the community clinic/site, or find out more information through the PMH website or social media.

As of June 2023, the region will have 26 NPs providing service within 27 PMH communities, nine of which are First Nation communities. NP services are provided at medical clinics, 7th Street Health Access Centre in Brandon, the Brandon Emergency Department, Souris acute care, First Nation Health offices, multiple long-term care sites, and the PMH Mobile Clinic (primary care bus).

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When passion meets opportunity.

By Alexandra Wenger, Winnipeg Free Press

As a rural nurse, you’re so much more than your job title. There’s a certain kind of flexibility in rural nursing that allows you to develop your skills in different ways.

Chandel Bailey-Morrison

When Chandel Bailey-Morrison’s kindergarten teacher asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, Chandel already knew her answer. She wanted to become a nurse.

“I always knew nursing was my calling,” Bailey-Morrison said. “As a kid I was always helping people. To this day, when I care for people, it reminds me of my purpose on this earth and it makes me feel whole.”

Bailey-Morrison’s health-care career started early, with those kindergarten dreams, and continued on into high school when she became a health-care aide and worked in both hospice and palliative care environments.

“Palliative care was the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. It’s such an honour to care for people in their final stages of life,” she said. “I have some truly heartwarming memories, including a patient who asked me to give her a bath while listening to Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a Wonderful World.’ She got me to dance around the room singing at the top of my lungs. We laughed until we cried. It was the best day — and literally her very last day on earth.”

Originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press as part of a National Nursing Week special feature

Her goal of becoming a nurse was realized when Bailey-Morrison graduated with a nursing degree in 2014. From a dream planned out and pursued from the early age of five, Bailey-Morrison’s career path has taken her to some unexpected places, including to Dauphin, where she is care team manager at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre (DRHC).

“While I was in college, I met the love of my life,” Bailey-Morrison explained. “She was in school for paramedicine and when she got a job in Dauphin, I took the leap with her. We were engaged nine months later.”

Together, the couple started their new careers in Dauphin with the intention of staying for two years to gain experience before returning to Winnipeg. Years later, they haven’t left and no longer have plans to.

“I never thought I’d live outside the city borders far from family. At first, Dauphin was a big culture shock and rural medicine had a significant learning curve,” Bailey-Morrison said. “Out here, our scope is a bit broader so I’ve had more opportunities than I would have in the city. Where Winnipeg sites might have specific IV or code teams, here in Dauphin we are those teams.”

During her five years working at the DRHC, Bailey-Morrison has explored many different opportunities and worked in a variety of specialties, including medicine, surgery and maternity while using her experience to help both new and existing staff expand their education in her current leadership role.      

“As a rural nurse, you’re so much more than your job title. There’s a certain kind of flexibility in rural nursing that allows you to develop your skills in different ways. You have the ability to jump in and get orientated on different units and if you show interest and want to learn, you can try it,” she added. “All your career goals can be made possible here. There’s just so much room to grow.”

As care team manager, Bailey-Morrison is responsible for half the Dauphin facility, including three of its largest units, overseeing everything from staffing, hiring, recruitment, finances and budgeting to patient safety and operations.

“I’ve been given great opportunities to climb the ladder in my career. I think my journey would have looked a lot different if I had stayed in Winnipeg,” Bailey-Morrison said, crediting the mentors she had along the way for inspiring both her interest in leadership and her approach to her current role.

“When I was a health-care aide, Monika Warren (now chief nursing officer for Shared Health) was one of the people who encouraged me to become a nurse. I’ve always said if I was ever in a leadership role, I would want to be like her. The way she speaks to people and her calmness during crisis is just so remarkable. It really stuck with me and inspires me to this day to be a great leader.”

These days, Bailey-Morrison’s everyday tasks are quite different from those she was responsible for in a direct care nursing role, but she has found her calling in leadership and is known around the facility for her commitment to staff, ability to bring teams together to succeed and willingness to be an extra set of hands whenever they are needed.

While Dauphin wasn’t in the original kindergarten dreams, it has become home for Bailey-Morrison and her family, offering small-town charm and big opportunities.

“Living in rural Manitoba offers the best of both worlds. Dauphin is beautiful and economical, my commute is convenient, and there are tons of outdoor activities and a diverse and supportive community. My definition of family has changed, and it’s here. Dauphin is home.”

This article was originally published in the Winnipeg Free Press as part of a National Nursing Week special feature. Click here for the full feature to read about more nurses and their careers throughout Manitoba.

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Prairie Mountain Health was excited to learn of the province’s investment in a one-time, 25-student cohort for its practical nursing diploma program in Neepawa. The Manitoba government is providing $2.1 million in combined capital and operating funding to Assiniboine Community College (ACC) to offer the practical nursing program in Neepawa.

Advanced Education and Training Minister Sarah Guillemard and Health Minister Audrey Gordon say the one-time offering in Neepawa will provide students with training close to home, allowing them to study, work and strengthen health care in the region.

“Nurses from rural communities are more likely to stay or return to rural health settings and graduates of this program will be eligible to fill positions at the new hospital under construction in Neepawa scheduled for completion in 2025, “ Gordon stated.

“We are pleased to be able to contribute to training people for careers in health care throughout the province. Nursing is Assiniboine’s largest single program and our graduates have a track record of getting jobs and staying in Manitoba.” said Mark Frison, president, ACC. “This welcome investment by the Manitoba government allows us to respond to needs in Neepawa and we look forward to working with the community to expand access in this growing region of the province.”

At nearly four times the size of the existing Neepawa Health Centre, the new hospital will include:

  • 63 acute care inpatient beds, an increase from 38 at the current site;
  • an expanded emergency department designed to best practice standards that includes assessment and treatment rooms, a trauma room, stretcher bay and ambulance bay; and
  • enhanced space for a number of programs such as surgery, diagnostics and palliative care, as well as various outpatient services including chemotherapy, ambulatory care and an eight-station dialysis unit.

Prairie Mountain Health (PMH) CEO Brian Schoonbaert says the region continues collaborative efforts with the province and education institutions like Assiniboine to further strengthen the health-care workforce in the region.

“Training nurses close to home allows them to learn in a familiar environment and have the opportunity to learn about and apply for jobs in their community upon graduation,” said Brian Schoonbaert CEO of Prairie Mountain Health. “It also helps meet the high demand for nurses in PMH. We are pleased to work with Assiniboine and our stakeholders to offer learners in the health region this opportunity.”

The investment in Neepawa further aligns with the provincial Health Human Resource Action Plan, which launched in November 2022 with a commitment to add 2,000 health-care providers, invest $200 million to retain, train and recruit health-care staff across Manitoba, and eliminate mandated overtime.

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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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