Morden's Marilyn Skubovius and Pat Gibson are no strangers to thinking ahead in the area of healthcare in the region. Both visionaries were heavily involved in the work of building the regional hospital, Boundary Trails Health Centre, now undergoing a $100 million expansion project. With work on the expanded healthcare facility well underway, a new vision has been cast to help sustain staffing in the region.
Committee Member Pat Gibson explained.
"The Learn and Return Healthcare Bursary was born with a desire to support healthcare in our community forever. Those of us who work on the committee may not be here in 20 and 30 years, but the need for healthcare always will be."
Co-Committee Member and one of the founders of Morden Area Foundation Marilyn Skubovius said the first steps are to build a fund to generate funding for the project.
"Our goal is a million dollars and the money raised will stay as an endowment with the Morden Area Foundation and the income from that fund will provide scholarships every year in perpetuity."
Gibson went on to further explain why this is so important.
"Because we are opening so many new, expanded projects, such as the new state of the art operating room, an expanded emergency department and cancer care, new inpatient care, echocardiography, which everybody has to go to Winnipeg right now for, opening up and expanding our interaction with the university.
All of these things, means that Morden and Winkler and Stanley will grow constantly."
Gibson noted it's important to sustain this growth.
"When we built Boundary Trails, it was with the message, 'services closer to home. 'We are unable to provide expanded services unless we have an increase in staffing. Today is an ideal day to think, 'What can I do in healthcare four years from now?'"
Applicants must be from the BTHC catchment area and must be employed for a minimum of a year at BTHC or the Menzies Medical Centre, Skubovius outlined. This can be for students entering into post-secondary education for healthcare for the first time or to upgrade to a new position to meet a need at BTHC.
MAF Board Chair Sue Nelson added, financial assistance will be awarded based on the need of the applicant and area of study, forecasted positions needed at BTHC and the size of the fund generating the bursaries. For example, $100,000 can generate up to $5000 in bursary money each year.
Gibson had a message for high school students in the region, challenging them to prepare for the future.
"If you start in grade 9 and choose to add math to your curriculum, you can graduate in grade 12 and enter into a healthcare field. Nursing, radiology, lab, and then you can go into specialized areas such as helping babies being born, working in the operating room to fix a broken leg or take out an appendix, or help a new diabetic on the medical unit, or if you really like adventure, you can work in the emergency department. But you have to start. When you graduate, you're pretty well guaranteed a job, either in Boundary Trails Health Centre, or in the Morden Menzies Clinic. So, if you want a job, an interesting job, in an area that you could really grow in, then this Learn and Return Bursary is for you."
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