I was asked to contribute to “Just an FP”, and feel privileged to do so.
My name is Garth Campbell. I graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1984 and finished my rotating internship in 1985. I arrived in Beausejour in 1987 for a 5-month locum almost 30 years ago, and have yet to escape. A rural generalist life is an incredibly rewarding one. As eloquently shared in previous ‘Just an FP’ articles, Family Practice allows deep, long-term relationships that span generations. These relationships meld into the overall community experience that comes with small town practice.
Life as a family doctor in a small town is busy. Mornings are rounds on your in-patients, a couple of excisions or cast changes, a day in the office often interrupted by a patient arriving in the Emergency Room, and possibly a ‘lights and sirens’ run to the Big City. Participation in the on-call rota, along with nursing home visits and of course house calls, round out the professional side of life.
The Community side of life has been the real bonus. I still play slow-pitch with the same guys for the past 25 years, although we don’t win many games anymore. Curling, golf, cooking french fries at the annual rodeo, or just stopping to chat when picking up the mail are all part of small-town life.
Professional life evolves, and I closed my practice in June 2015. I will always cherish the memories of talking to a patient at 8 AM in the morning because they are still alive, having survived my care at 2 AM. Being the one responsible is not for everyone. For those with the ‘Clinical Courage’ to be comfortable with not knowing everything, yet being expected to, and being able to handle whatever comes thru the ER door, the country life is for you!
If ever a student wishes to chat about the pros and cons of a rural practice, I am sure Evan or Dorothy can forward your e-mail on to me. I have MANY stories.