One of the things I really love about my job is the opportunity to practice in new settings. I think it’s really important both personally and professionally to understand how different health care systems work, and to also understand how one community’s needs differ from other. I also really welcome the opportunity to meet new people and work with new staff in an entirely different setting. Change does the mind and body good.
Most recently, I filled in for a pair of married doctors in Sarnia. They often ask me to come out there when they go on vacation. It’s not exactly a hardship for me to do so, either, given that I’m given free range of their stunning home while I’m out there. They live on the outskirts of town, right by the beach—a truly idyllic setting to do some of that burn-out-busting I spoke of in my last post.
But beyond the obvious benefits of staying in such a lovely environment, I also relish the opportunity to practice in a small town. Working in a larger hospital, you are so often limited by bureaucratic red tape, and the vast array of responsibilities I have there often make it difficult to get in the kind of one-on-one time with patients that makes it so worth while.
Interacting with patients on a meaningful level is just so incredibly important to being the kind of doctor I want to be. As I’ve always said, so much about palliative care is about living—and if you don’t have the chance to truly connect with patients and their families, then I don’t think you’re going to be able to be the kind of practitioner you need to be in this field.
Getting the chance to slow things down a bit and be reminded of just what an impact my work can have on people is always a gift—even if I’m still technically ‘working’ while doing it!