Rural Pre-Medicine program student's Future Awaits with Experience at Selkirk College

When Santanna Hernandez makes a decision, the mother of four young children not only has her own future in mind, she has her family in mind. There’s a lot to consider.

“It was really about figuring out if I could balance it without compromising their childhood,” she says. “It’s not just me deciding what I’m going to do for me. Every decision I make affects six people.”

Hernandez saw Selkirk College had a lot to offer. And now, ready to start her second year of the Rural Pre-Medicine Program, she knows she’s on the right path.

The woman of Liidlii Kue Aboriginal ancestry has found her calling in a program designed to put rural and Aboriginal medical professionals in rural communities. Her goal is to practice medicine in remote communities, coming in as a locum ready to help out.

Hernandez grew up with a myriad of medical mysteries and a series of broken bones that had her in many doctors’ offices. She developed admiration for the profession and continues to have strong relationships with MDs today as she takes care of her children’s health.

She also experienced how rural patients can struggle. Hernandez has lived in many small northern communities where travel to see a family doctor is the norm. She experienced being transferred to a larger centre to await the birth of her third child, leaving her Ft. Nelson home behind a month early due to the potential for complications. She also witnessed Aboriginal patients from small communities outside Prince George experience prejudice.

“I want to change that. I want to help as many people as I can. For me, it was a very personal choice to focus on rural medicine. The goals of this program and the path they are helping people take, I stand behind. It’s why I chose to study here,” Hernandez says.

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