Not all medical student know what they’d like to do after they’ve graduated, but Jeff Irvine definitely did – and what he wanted was to return to Saskatchewan and set-up shop in a small, rural community as a general practitioner.
Which means he’s now exactly where he wanted to be: back home in La Ronge.
“I knew that Saskatchewan was where I wanted to work once I’d finished residency,” Irvine said recently. “Rural Saskatchewan has everything I was looking for: it still has a small-town feel, but all the amenities that I need, and want, are still here.”
Irvine, who studied at Ross University in the Caribbean, saw the opportunity to study abroad as an adventure before returning to Saskatchewan. His decision to study to be a GP was centred mainly around his urge to work in smaller communities like La Ronge, where he completed his CoM residency in 2014 - a choice he believes specializing wouldn’t have provided him with.
“Being a GP allowed me to work in rural areas and also allows me to see a little bit of everything,” Irvine continued. “Instead of just getting focused on one particular area, I want to be able to see a bit of everything.
“The population I’m working with – the people here are so friendly in small communities that it’s so easy to work, and live, in this area.”
Irvine believes part of the attraction of returning to Saskatchewan is that it not only allows him to practice a broad range of medicine, but also that the more casual atmosphere makes life easier to tailor to a doctors personal career aspirations.
“I think the range of practice opportunities here, whether it’s urban or rural, is so broad,” explained Irvine. “Whether it’s working part-time, or full-time on salary or fee for service I think everything anyone could want is available here.”
And while his medical education took Irvine on the adventure he wanted, the final steps lead him home.