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.
By Dr Nicholas Pimlott, Photo by W Eugene Smith, “Country Doctor”, Life Magazine, 1948
A country doctor on his rounds …
And everybody knows
His voice, his smile, the way he walks,
His presence in the Vale;
They will remember evermore,
His name in Wensleydale.
Joan Pomfret (1913-1993)
It is rare for a GP to be the subject of a poem but Dr William Pickles, memorialized by Joan Pomfret, was legendary…Pickles epitomized the dedicated generalist who was also an astute and meticulous observer of illness in his community. But how do we define generalist for the modern day?
The challenge is that societies need generalists now more than ever. But the demands of being a generalist were probably never realistic, and the role was frequently achieved at great personal expense or at the expense of spouses and families. The demands of being a generalist today are even greater. Faced with pandemics, an aging population, the rapid pace of biomedical advances, a death-denying and death-controlling culture, an increasingly fragmented and unequal society, and the expectation that FPs will take on additional nonmedical roles, the work of generalists is more daunting than ever. As a result, we are now seeing fewer family medicine trainees interested in the broad generalist role that was the norm.
Is there a way forward so that we can take the best of the past, but repurpose generalists for the future?
Read the full article in Canadian Family Physician.