From Ralph and Annette Bursey.
We know how hard it can be to find a family doctor. We live in Oliver! We are lucky to have eventually found a family doctor.
We would like to share the story of our daughter’s journey to show how difficult it can be for a local doctor to come practice medicine in her homeland.
Our daughter was born and raised in BC and one day hopes to settle in the Okanagan where most of our family lives.
After graduating with her bachelors of science from UBC, she went away to medical school in the Caribbean (Long story, but essentially she did not get into UBC Med…there was limited spots at the time for the entire province and rather than waiting and hoping to get in the following year she decided to study abroad!)
She did all her medical school rotations in the USA and across Canada. She scored top scores on both the USA and Canadian board exams. She then went on to successfully complete her Family Medicine Residency at McMaster University in Ontario (Unfortunately in 2011 it was not an option to do residency in BC straight from medical school for Canadians that studied abroad!)
When she graduated her residency she contacted the BC interior health recruiters to see if there was a way they could help her return to BC. She would need to buy out of her Ontario five year return of service agreement (something she is obligated to do because she was now technically an “international medical graduate”.) After 10 years of schooling, she had so much student debt she wasn’t financially able to buy out of her Ontario contract, even though she really wanted to come home to practice medicine in the Okanagan. She was hoping the BC recruiters might be able to help her find a way to pay out her Ontario Return of Service in return for a five year contract in BC (She would have signed a ten year!) but unfortunately while they were extremely helpful this just wasn’t something they were able to do at that time.
She has been practicing family medicine in Ontario now for the last 3 years providing comprehensive family medicine including clinic, low risk obstetrics, hospitalist and palliative care. She is also an associate clinical professor for McMaster University and teaches medical students and residents.
While she has hit one road block after another trying to practice in her own home province, she still hopes to return to BC one day as it has been her lifelong dream to live in the Okanagan close to her family.
So, there will eventually be another doctor in our area, it just may take a few more years.