My job as a family physician in small-town British Columbia is a dream come true. It’s also nearly impossible to do.
I work in a small town in British Columbia, the same town where I was born and grew up, where my dad was born, and where my mom’s dad was born, in a tent, before his family’s homesteader cabin was built almost a century ago.
I applied to medical school after becoming interested in Médecins sans Frontières but I quickly realized that there was great need right here in British Columbia, and that family medicine was where I could make a real impact. Family medicine is the work of the generalist; the breadth of knowledge is wide, and the relationships run deep. One of the best things about my practice is that it can be anything, and it changes every day. You never know what will walk through the door next: a deep laceration from a hand vs. tool conflict, an insect in someone’s ear, or a person having a heart attack who needs stabilization until the ambulance arrives.
It can be overwhelming—the conflict between spending time with patients and being able to pay your staff; the conflict between filling out reams of forms and soothing your toddler who has woken with a fever. I have been fully qualified and working independently for just under five years, but already these conflicts have sometimes felt like too much. Still, like most of us, I care so much about my patients that it is hard to leave, and I hope, perhaps naively, that the value of family medicine will be recognized before we’ve been bled completely dry. So, for now, I stay.
Read the full article written by Dr Kristi Herrling on Maclean’s.
Photos by Grant Harder, as featured on the same article.
News articles do not necessarily represent the views of BC Family Doctors. We share news written by or about family physicians to keep our members up to date on topics impacting our professional lives.