The next few paragraphs highlight the practice profiles of four different Ontario family physicians. There is incredible diversity amongst these featured practices. Family physicians are in a fortunate position to evolve their skills and experiences to cover a wide variety of medicine. We hope that in reading on, you feel inspired and start to envision the practice you hope to have one day!
The four featured practices are located, as shown below, throughout Ontario:
Dr. Christine Richardson, London, Ontario
Special Interests: Education and third world medical service
Residency: University of Ottawa
Practicing since: 2006
Practice description: Full-time emergency medicine — three to four shifts per week — seeing patients as well as working with and teaching students and residents. Additionally spending about 4-8 hours/week on administrative duties and the same on teaching outside of the department.
What you love most about your work: The challenge of acute care medicine - it is mentally stimulating so you don't get bored of what you do.
What you love least about your work: Working "antisocial" hours (evenings, nights and weekends).
Advice to residents: Seek to get the most learning out of every rotation you do - You realize, in retrospect, how valuable it can be. Enjoy your time establishing rapport with patients, no matter how brief that interaction may be.
Personal interests: I'm one of those crazy busy people - I play in a concert band and love to get out cycling (road and mountain) and running. I love to read and belong to a great book club that has expanded my network of women physician friends (who are not in emerg). I travel as much as possible.
Typical salary range: About $300,000 per year.
Dr. Michael Kirlew, Sioux Lookout and Ottawa, Ontario; Daquini, Haiti
Special Interests: First Nations, global health and medical simulation in education
Residency: University of Ottawa
Practicing since: 2007
Practice description: It depends on where I am. In Ottawa, I do a fair bit of medical education as well as hospitalist work on our inpatient family medicine hospital service. In Sioux Lookout, I practice both Family and Emergency Medicine as well as hospital work. In Haiti, I work mostly in HIV care and Tropical Medicine.
What you love most about your work: I thoroughly enjoy working with the patients. They are all truly inspiring. Also, I love the fact that my clinical practice is flexibility and diverse.
What you love least about your work: The least pleasant part of my work is the times I have spent away from my family. The time I spend away from them is usually as a result of the traveling I do. As such, traveling can be very taxing at times.
Advice to residents: First, family medicine is a great field of medicine and I can think of few others that offer the diversity of clinical practice that family medicine does. Second, enjoy your residency experience and relax. Third, don’t forget to spend as much time as possible with your family and friends during residency. It will set the right tone for your personal life and work after residency.
Personal interests: I most enjoy spending time with my family. Additionally, I am a huge football fan. Being able to watch a game now and then is always nice.
Typical salary range: Here In Ontario, a Family Physician can typically make a salary within the range of 220,000 - 300,000 annually depending on scope of practice.
Dr. Kendall Noel, Rockland, Ontario
Intérêts spéciaux: Enseignement médical, actuellement inscrit au doctorat en médecine familiale à l’UWO
Résidence: Hôpital Montfort à l’Université d’Ottawa
Pratique depuis: 2002
Description de la pratique: Le lundi matin, je m’occupe des tâches administratives et je travaille l’après-midi et en soirée. La journée de mardi est dédiée à l’administration académique. Les mercredis et vendredis matins, je vois les patients et j’applique les procédures en après-midi (mes patients et ceux en consultation). Le jeudi est réservé aux soins cliniques de routine. Je suis sur appel pour le département psychiatrique de mon hôpital tous les autres jeudis.
Votre aspect favori du métier: J’aime le fait que nous jouions un rôle important dans la vie des gens dans les moments critiques. J’aime également le fait que nous ayons le droit d’entretenir un lien longitudinal avec les patients. J’aime voir un nouveau-né dans le cadre de ma pratique et je crois qu’il s’agit de mon devoir (même si cela m’effraie parfois) d’être aux côtés d’un patient en soins palliatifs au moment de son décès.
La responsabilité qui nous incombe en tant que médecins de famille de conseiller nos patients est plus importante que ce qu’on peut croire durant notre résidence. À un grand nombre de reprises, j’ai dirigé quelqu’un vers un autre spécialiste qui est revenu pour me dire: « Voici ce que l’autre médecin a dit, qu’est-ce que ça signifie et quel est votre avis à ce sujet? »
Votre aspect le moins favori du métier: Je n’apprécie pas qu’on m’incite à être « efficace » ou rentable quitte à passer moins de temps avec mes patients. Il existe des personnes qui aiment savoir que leur médecin prendra le temps de les rencontrer. Je crois qu’un grand nombre d’entre eux cherchent à recevoir des soins par des médecins qui vont prendre plus de temps pour rencontrer leurs patients en plus de fournir d’excellents soins. Je ne connais pas la réponse à cette question. Il semblerait que l’efficacité et la rentabilité soient la voie de l’avenir.
Échelle de salaire: entre 200 000 et 300 000 $ par année.
Dr. Michelle Homer, Locums in Ontario
Special Interests: Low risk obstetrics, acute care and palliative care
Residency: North York General Hospital, University of Toronto
Practicing since: July 2009
Practice description: As a locum, I don't have a typical workweek! Some weeks are very routine (i.e., office 3-4 days a week). Others are filled with urgent care/walk-in shifts. When working in Northern Ontario, I have typically split my time between office, 24-hr ER shifts and in-patient care.
What you love most about your work: In terms of working as a locum, the freedom to choose where, when, and what I want to do. In terms of family medicine, I enjoy interacting with patients as well as the variety of clinical cases.
What you love least about your work: I have formed an intense dislike of paperwork over the past few months as an independent doctor. As a locum, it can be frustrating to have each patient be new to you. There is definitely something to be said for the doctor-patient relationship! I have also found it frustrating to find locums, which allow me to pursue my interests, such as OB, at least in the GTA.
Advice to residents: Don't sign up for the first staff position or locum available "just to have something". Take your time to find out details re: clinics/staff, what is expected of you and also what compensation is being offered. Soak up as much information as possible about practice management! Also, don't close the proverbial door too early on options within Family Medicine. Even if you dread a particular rotation in residency or can't envision yourself ever using those skills again, you never know what clinical pearls you may retain that might come in handy down the line. You also never know how your practice may change over the next fifty years.
Typical salary range: Working typically 3-4 days a week (and taking a couple of months off at a time once or twice a year) my annual salary would be in the range of $120K before tax, after overhead.