That in reality is the beauty of being just a GP. There is no other field that allows you to so seamlessly to mesh your practice patterns, skills and life course with a profession that is second to none for it’s variety and the fullfillment that it can bring.
I always knew I was going to be a generalist but I had no idea when I started on that hamster wheel of undergrad, medical school, and finally residency of where it would take me. To quote a more famous Dr. “Oh, the Places You Go!”
My practice now encompasses rural and remote medicine in Canada and has taken me to many small towns across rural Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, and British Columbia. I have delivered babies, removed fish hooks, done emergency fasicotomies, and stopped a siezure or two and helped people to acheive a happy and pain free death in their final moments on this year. That could all happen in one weekend or over the course of years. You really never know what is going to walk into your office or into the Emergency Room.
I have always had a passion for global health and being a very general practicioner I felt comfortable volunteering for the Ebola response in Sierra Leone during the most recent epidemic in West Africa. After some further training in Tropical Medicine and Disaster Medicine I ventured over to Freetown over a 6 week period and was able to use my skills to help an incredible team of international and local health care professionals and medical students in training bring the death rates down and do our little bit to end the epidemic. I know many medical students have a passion for international health and training as a GP allows you to be very flexible in your travels and work throughout your life.
Another passion I have is military medicine and as a Reservist Medical Officer I have been lucky enough to provide medical care to the soldiers that form our Canadian Armed Forces. Unique opportunities in Aerospace Medicine, Flight Medicine, and Dive medicine await you if you decide to join the military. If you want to be an astronaut then GP is the way to go! Opportunities to learn about austere medicine and to perhaps work in the high arctic like I have in Resolute Bay or to deploy to distinct operating environments around the world await you.
In the end life is all about stories, some of which I collected in a book entitled ‘The Surprising Lives of Small Town Doctors”.
In summary. No other field allows such diverse practice in so many distinct environments and the flexibility to allow your work to match your own operational tempo as you flow through life with all it’s ebbs and flows.