Our Stories

Making Rural Practice a Choice

Lisa Creelman won a Family Nurse Practitioner Program Rural Practice Graduate Award after choosing to live and work in Mackenzie.

May 16, 2017
Lisa Creelman and her family in Mackenzie
Family Nurse Practitioner Lisa Creelman and her family have chosen to live and work in Mackenzie.

Prior to starting a Master’s degree in the UNBC Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Program, Lisa Creelman was a stranger to small towns in Northern B.C. and was living in the rapidly urbanizing Fraser Valley.

Fast forward several years, she now lives in Mackenzie and is one of eight healthcare professionals in this industrial community of 3,700 people.

Her journey is one that more and more health-care students are choosing.

“UNBC was my first choice, as I wanted as many different learning experiences as possible,” says Lisa. “Working in rural health care was eye-opening.”

Her first choice was also the right choice.

During her studies, Lisa was exposed to primary care in a rural environment and pursued clinical placements throughout the region. Her experiences shaped her understanding of how smaller communities are supported by what is often a lean health-care support system, as well as an appreciation for the lifestyle a small community offers.

As a FNP, Lisa provides a holistic approach to primary health care with each of her patients, providing health assessments, promoting preventative health, and diagnosing diseases and conditions. She also plays an important
role in primary health care by conducting physical exams, prescribing medications, ordering tests and referring to specialists.

The Northern Medical Programs Trust (NMPT) helped open these doors by providing funding so that she could include rural clinical practice in her education at UNBC. And now she is one of the first recipients of the FNP Program Rural Practice Graduate Award because she has accepted a position in the region.

Contributions to the NMPT endowment are enhancing the reach and impact of health-care education so that UNBC can graduate health leaders equipped to serve Canada’s communities. And they are supporting students such as Lisa in becoming vital members of their communities.

“The local residents and health-care team have been extremely welcoming and supportive,” she says. “My husband and I and our two children spend more time together as a family, exploring Northern B.C. and even trying new activities like cross-country skiing. I really enjoy being in a smaller town, and being invested in this community’s health, wellness, growth and development.”

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