Family Medicine Residency Program
Each year since 2014, five residents come from across Canada enter the two-year Dalhousie University South West Nova Family Medicine Residency Program which is designed to train family doctors for rural areas. Each is paired with a local doctor (called a preceptor) and undergoes training in a wide range of medical areas by the specialists on staff.
There are advantages for both the residents and the community, Dr. Hussein says. “They have the opportunity to participate in a family practice and maximum clinical exposure and the opportunity to participate in all areas of family medicine,” she says. “They cover shifts in Emergency, deliver babies, and participate in surgeries throughout the two years, unlike traditional approaches where they’d do a block of time for each area. By the time they graduate, they are very competent and confident in all these services because they’ve been exposed to them constantly.”
And by that time, they’ve developed strong relationships with the community and the medical staff, so they feel very comfortable in establishing their own practices in the area. “They don’t want to waste that precious connection,” Dr. Hussein says.
Being a family physician in a rural community is very different from working in a city, Dr. Erica Lasher Coates says. “We love the lifestyle. We love the community. Here your job can change as your needs do.”
“It feels like home,” Dr. Maddy Arkle says. “It’s nice to know when you’re starting out that you’re going to be surrounded by people who are supportive and will continue to guide you along in your lifelong learning.”