Every year Georgian Bay General Hospital invites medical students for some ‘hands-on’ training to test their skills and get to know the community hospital in Midland.

University of Toronto students left the classroom setting to learn how to read scans, give injections and put in stitches alongside the experts in a clinical setting.

Susan Dong is a first-year medical student. “I was a really great experience,” she says. “I think the competition is racking up, especially in the bigger hospitals. So to have more exposure in the more rural communities is definitely something that I’m open to.”

And that’s precisely why the hospital hosts the workshops for the students annually. Recruiting physicians to rural hospitals is competitive, so officials hope candidates like these students will return.

“It gives us an opportunity to work with the learners,” explains Dr. Jeff Golisky. “And to see if they would be a good fit for our community and to see if they’re able to have the skills that we might need in the future.”

The hospital in Midland has been so successful in recent years with physician recruitment; it stopped offering financial incentives to new physicians. Officials say the area and lifestyle is often the best selling point.

The medical students will be in the region over the next several days to meet with health professionals as the recruitment campaign continues.