BRACEBRIDGE - Three medical students from Muskoka are taking their healing skills into competitive residencies.
Bracebridge natives Jessica Conway (left), Zachary Veitch and Brittney Parlett have secured highly competitive medical residences in two Canadian universities. The three are fourth-year students at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and will be completing their residencies in radiation oncology, internal medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, respectively.
Bracebridge natives Zachary Veitch, Jessica Conway and Brittney Parlett, all fourth-year students at Sudbury’s Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), have secured highly competitive postings at two Canadian universities through the Canadian Residency Matching Service.
“It’s essentially all the medical students from across Canada getting put into an algorithm, and then they get matched based on what they ranked their choices for,” Veitch said of the residency matching process.
Fewer than a handful of applicants were picked for each residency opening. Veitch landed one of three residency positions for internal medicine at the University of British Columbia, while Conway secured only one of two residency spots for radiation oncology at the same school.
The two have been a couple since before they began studying at NOSM.
“I think they had upwards of about 500 applicants for 40 spots (across Canada),” Veitch said of internal medicine residency openings. “With Jessica it was 22 spots in Canada.”
Conway said she chose radiation oncology as it offers a human touch to the job.
“I like that radiation oncology has a technical approach to oncology, as well as maintaining the patient-physician interaction,” she said. “I like radiology as well as the palliative care portions of cancer care.”
Parlett secured one of six residency spots in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Western Ontario. In her field, there are only 94 residency spots across Canada.
“I have been interested in women’s health ever since my undergrad at Western, where I took courses such as fetal physiology, reproductive physiology, and did research projects on both breast cancer and placenta development,” she said.
Parlett, who said she likes working with her hands, chose obstetrics and gynecology as it offers both a surgical specialty and on-the-job variety.
“You work with women of all ages and backgrounds, and in any given week your time can be split between clinics, the delivery room and the operating room,” she said.
Prior to enrolling at NOSM, Veitch earned undergraduate degrees in psychology and biomedicine, and a master’s degree in breast cancer research, while Conway had completed an undergraduate degree in health sciences. Parlett did her third year comprehensive clerkship in Bracebridge and has an undergraduate degree in medical sciences from the University of Western Ontario.
Though she’s unsure of what the future will hold, Parlett said she intends to become a general ObGyn practitioner. While she remembers Bracebridge as a lovely community and a great place to grow up in, Parlett said where she winds up will largely depend on a number of factors, including the demand for her medical stream, operating room availability and the practice environment.
Conway and Veitch are hoping they won’t have to settle too far from Muskoka. Although Muskoka’s hospitals lack the facilities needed for her specific stream of medicine, Conway said she and Veitch are hoping to eventually work in a hospital where they can still serve the community where they grew up.
“Our plan is to move back to Ontario somewhere close to home,” said Conway. “We’re hoping to be within an hour of home.”