Feb. 02, 2010
CME Magazine AdvertorialNat Silverman
Jan. 29, 2009
Fabulous Fishing Forays for Physicians
Give New Meaning to ‘Healing Waters’
Travel Manitoba’s Continuing Medical Education Initiative
Combines Exhilarating Expeditions to Premium Fly-In Lodges
with Fully-Accredited Program on Work-Life Balance
A new program organized and sponsored by Travel Manitoba combines exhilarating airborne expeditions to deluxe lakefront lodges in the province’s vast pristine wilderness — a land of boreal forest, taiga, and tundra — with a fully accredited CME course administered by the medical faculty of the University of Manitoba.
The new “Hook and Learn” series is collaboration among Travel Manitoba, the university, and a consortium of Manitoba premium fishing lodges.
Organizers have planned what looks to be an ideal theme for a CME program conducted in a sportsmen’s paradise: spectacular lake-rich settings hundreds of miles from any population center — a match made in outdoors heaven.
The inaugural CME program is “Physician Resilience.” It provides 15 hours of accredited continuing education over five days, utilizing a combination of case-based small group learning and seminars. Participants will explore topics such as “transitions,” stress and burnout, strategies for improving work-life balance, and improving communications with patients, colleagues, and staff.
The program is an Accredited Group Learning Activity (Section 1) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. This program also meets the accreditation criteria for a maximum of 12.5 Category 1 credits toward the American Medical Association Physician’s Recognition Award.
“Physician’s Resilience” will be offered July 11–15 at Nueltin Fly-In Lodges main lodge and August 30–September 3 at Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge. Others planning to offer the program, on dates to be announced, are Big Sand Lake Lodge, Gangler’s North Seal River Lodge, Laurie River Lodge, and Webber’s Lodges.
Participants pay for their lodge stay, which includes all meals and round-trip transportation between Winnipeg and the lodge, with package prices starting at around $2,500. Travel Manitoba subsidizes the entire cost of the education program. Book your stay directly with the participating lodge, then register for the CME program through the University of Manitoba.
“Physician-anglers can accumulate continuing education hours and still get their fishing done," says one lodge owner.
Trophy species in Manitoba include, most famously, northern pike – dubbed “Manitoba Monsters” — lake trout, walleye, channel catfish and in the subarctic reaches of the province, the exotic arctic grayling, evocatively known as the “sailfish of the north.”
Some people have childhood memories of fishing at family-style “north woods” resorts and campgrounds. But going to a premium full-service that focuses on angling — and on creating a high-quality 360-degree experience around it — is a fish of different color.
“This isn't your father's -- or grandfather's -- old fishing camp,” says a Travel Manitoba representative.
“It's a five-star angling experience at wilderness resort,” says one lodge operator.
The trip feels like an expedition, even with all the creature comforts. Typically you’ll fly from Winnipeg international airport on a charter flight to a distant private landing strip. Then you board a float plane for the last leg of the trip to your lodge.
Operators say the isolation and remoteness of the setting, the profusion of trophy-size fish, and the frequency of catches, combined with the amenities and services of a premium lodge and its attentive staff, create a sense of “heightened reality – or unreality” that amazes and delights new and returning guests.
Lodge guests greet the day with fresh coffee and a made-to-order breakfast. “And every time your fishing boat leaves the dock, you're setting out for parts unknown,” says a lodge owner.
After a morning on the water, your fishing guide cooks a fresh shore lunch on the lodge's own private beach.
At least one lodge boasts a complimentary, self-service bar stocked with premium brands that’s available for several hours each evening. Wireless broadband Internet access, via satellite, has also become a standard feature.
Lodge representatives talk about “the quality of the companionship” you find during a stay. The properties attract successful professionals, entertainment world celebrities, and heads of some of the world’s largest businesses — though lodges are reluctant to drop names out of respect for their customers’ privacy.
“We have well-traveled guests who run into each other in far-flung parts of the world,” says one lodge owner. “Lifelong friendships are made here.”
Representatives of Manitoba’s outdoors industry say the experience appeals to successful professionals and leaders in all fields because they are achievement oriented: catching trophy fish is a “win” that anglers finds immensely satisfying.
“Some of the best fishermen I’ve met are creative problem solvers,” says Shawn Gurke, proprietor of Nueltin Fly-In Lodges. “You have smart, ambitious people in the boat, figuring things out. These are not the guys standing on the beach fishing with a bobber and hook.”
For physicians, a CME program at a premium Manitoba lodge offers an unusual social setting because guests have something in common besides their medical careers – a serious interest in big game fish. It’s a fraternity of anglers.
The benefits of fishing — relaxation, communing with nature, camaraderie, and the exhilaration of landing impressive fish — are widely recognized.
The 17th-century Englishman Izaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler, wrote, “You will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.”
Throughout North America, nonprofit volunteer service organizations take wounded military veterans, cancer survivors, and others on fishing retreats to the healing waters of the “great outdoors” for the restorative physical and emotional benefits.
Organizers of Travel Manitoba’s lodge-based CME program say they’ve set out to design “a healing experience for the healers.”
Neultin’s Gurke says, “I’ve had guests whose wives and secretaries called us afterwards to comment on how we were good therapy for their husbands or bosses. It really is a therapeutic experience for them. I’m pretty proud of that.”
“The quality of the angling is a concentrated dose of medicine in itself,” says one lodge operator whose ancestors include Canadian First Nation’s people who have lived – and fished – in this region since time immemorial.
“You only get so many hours on the water in a year or a lifetime,” he says, “and this is a way of making the most of that time.”
For further information about CME lodge accommodations and arrangements, contact Shawn Gurke, Nueltin Fly-In Lodges, 204.767.2330; Patrick Trudel, Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, (204) 228-7053; or Kevin Palmer, Travel Manitoba, (204) 927-7820, firstname.lastname@example.org. For details about the CME program’s content and registration information, contact the University of Manitoba’s Office of Continuing Medial Education, (204) 789-3660, email@example.com.