For Dr. Kaitlin Forbes, the rewards of rural practice outweigh the challenges

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta CPSA

Dr. Kaitlin Forbes chose rural practice for the variety; she stayed for the continuity of care. Every day of the week had something new to explore, but the unparalleled support from colleagues made every challenge manageable.

My first impression of rural practice was in pre-clerkship. I did a summer rotation in Kenora, Ontario, in Rural Family Medicine. I was lucky enough to travel to work each morning by boat, but truthfully felt totally overwhelmed by the depth of medicine I was exposed to during the rotation. Over time, as I developed a better understanding of medicine, I came to realize how fortunate rural family doctors are. Every day, they can play a different role in a different setting.

I was surprised at how critical team work is in the rural setting. Despite the fact that the teams are often smaller, the support you get from your allied healthcare providers ensures your patients get the greatest quality of care. You have to be more independent and push your comfort level in rural practice, but there are always resources and colleagues available for support and guidance.

During my R3 rotation, I couldn’t stop talking about how much I enjoyed my rural rotations in Yellowknife and Brooks. I think that’s why my program director nominated me - she knew how much I was looking forward to locuming in Yellowknife upon the completion of my R3 program. I feel very fortunate to be one of the recipients of this award.

The physicians and nurses I worked with in Yellowknife influenced me to take on rural practice. They were all so supportive and helped me appreciate how exciting it is to work in such a challenging but rewarding environment. Since graduating from my R3 program, I have been locuming in Calgary and Yellowknife. This summer, I am covering a maternity leave in Calgary, where I am doing general Family Medicine and Low Risk Obstetrics, but I can’t wait to get back up to Yellowknife soon!

The Dr. Bryan Ward Memorial Endowment Fund is awarded annually to a medical student or resident with interest in rural family practice and professionalism. Dr. Ward was a champion for rural family practice, spending 15 years serving a rural community before transitioning to administrative medicine with the CPSA as Deputy Registrar. To recognize Bryan’s many contributions to the medical profession and to encourage students and residents to choose rural family practice, the College and University of Calgary created the Dr. Bryan Ward Memorial Endowment Fund in 2014. For more information, or to donate, visit Dr. Bryan Ward Memorial Endowment Fund.