Family physicians learn about farm safety

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The Parkland Family Medicine Residency program, led by unit director Dr. Scott Kish, ventured out to three farming operations in the Parkland area on September 29, 2019. The goal of traveling to farms is to teach rural family physicians about the day in the life of a farmer and the potential hazards that come along with the profession.

The group started the day by meeting with farmers Peter Prokopowich and Chris Morgan in Sifton, Man. The group toured a grain farm and observed a variety of farming equipment, including two augers loading and dispensing grain, a swather, a combine, and an anhydrous ammonia applicator. Protective and safety equipment were reviewed and discussed with the doctors.

Fertilizer, treated grain and genetically modified seeds were hot topics of discussion. The farmers discussed the potential for injury on the farm, such as navigating large equipment around power lines, falls and respiratory health. Chris Morgan reviewed his work as a cattle farmer and the risks of working with large animals, including the stressors faced by many farmers during a dry season.

The group continued on to Winnipegosis and met with pharmacist Trevor Shewfelt to review access to medication in a rural setting. The group also stopped by the Winnipegosis Hospital to meet with Dr. Alison Carleton and discuss life as a family practitioner. The group ended their day at Lakeshore Fisheries in Winnipegosis to review local fishing practices.

Parkland Chief Resident Dr. Brook Ruffo said that medicine is not a one size fits all discipline, but rather is highly specific to the needs of a given individual.

“Farm day provides an extraordinary opportunity for new physicians to gain insight into the lives of those they serve,” Ruffo said. “The farming communities within rural Manitoba face a very unique set of challenges; including mechanical injuries, chemical exposure, burn-out and mental health stressors. We are extremely grateful to those families that participated in this year’s Farm Day and for helping to educate us on their industry.”

Parkland’s Family Medicine Residency Program looks forward to the next farm safety day, which will take place in August 2021.

Story by Erin Stoesz, Parkland Family Medicine Residency Unit

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