Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rural Medicine

What do being featured on a Canada Day Parade float, surviving a grizzly encounter, catching my first 35 lbs salmon, getting picked up by teenagers at a run down bar, pulling all nighters in the health clinic, and making the front page of the local news have in common?  Not much.  Except after these 4 weeks in my 1st clerkship rotation, I can say "been there, done that".

As I plunge deeper into my clerkship years, I'm thinking more and more about what I want to be when I grow up.  Rural family practice is definitely one of a kind and has kept me on my toes.  It wasn't uncommon for me to drive 2 hours to even more remote villages for the weekly clinics there.  There were days where I'd poke babies for their vaccines, K.O. an aggressive alcoholic, and several motor vehicle traumas all before being called back in for someone with heart failure that was being choppered in.  I was able to do the ER bit, but still have complete follow-up with the patients.  Pretty neat stuff that ain't served in the city. 

I can definitely see myself doing this for a living but rural is...well  rural.  I freaken love the idea of being a jack of all trades physician and have the ability to go fishing nearby while "on call".  But I'm not sure the trade-off of friends, family, and urban conveniences is worth it.  I looked forward to work everyday, but I couldn't figure out whether it was 'cause I enjoyed suturing legs up at 2am or because the alternative of watching the clock tick until my next shift nearly made me slash my wrists. There were days where I'd get off work, hike, come home and it was still only 6pm.  From there, it was TV and youtube.  Not a soul in the street to chat with.

Verdict?  Rural medicine is great.  It takes a certain maturity for a city boy to trade off friends, family, and glitzy social scene of urban life though.  I'm certainly not there yet.  If I pursue family medicine in the future, I hope said maturity will be there.  After all, rural medicine is definitely the way to do family medicine.


  1. Wow, what an awesome experience!!! It must be SO GREAT to be able to do this for a little while, but I would have to think a little bit harder to decide to live this for a very long period of time... maybe a year or so would have been awesome, but for the rest of my life it's something I would definitely have to put some thought into. I hope I can have this experience someday :)

  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us! They are very inspiring!