Prince George

Site Director Message

Hi, welcome to the Prince George site. If you read this page last year you might not recognize us.

We are undergoing some changes.


This site is for you if:

  • You are interested in full-service (urban or rural) Family Practice which includes office, hospital care, ER, and/or obstetrics.
  • You are interested in rural medicine
  • You are interested in rural locums
  • You want to develop a solid foundation of acute care and ER Family Practice skills to apply for an R3 ER or GPA program (we have 12 weeks of ER and 4 weeks of ICU and 12 weeks of R2 elective time)
  • You want a rigorous, diverse, and relevant clinical experience with lots of rural influence.


This site is probably not for you if:

  • You want to work in an urban-based Family Practice office only setting
  • You want to sub-specialize into a narrow scope of urban Family Practice
  • You want to be a hospitalist
  • You enjoy traffic and unaffordable housing


So what has changed?


  • We will be piloting optional rural experiences during some of our core R1 rotations starting next year. This will take advantage of smaller communities with more one-on-one time with specialists and Family Physicians in an enthusiastic atmosphere. This will be balanced with the volume and experience of the preceptors in Prince George, one of UBC’s most established residency sites.
  • We are also revamping our existing rotations such as Internal Medicine to ensure meaningful and relevant learning for your future Family Practice in a supportive learning environment.
  • We are enhancing our available rural experiences during the second year of residency.
  • We are currently offering mentorship in rural committee work and policy development for those interested in involvement with provincial rural networks.
  • We are incorporating monthly SIM lab sessions (minimum) throughout the residency and weekly ultrasound teaching during our Internal Medicine block.
  • We are also piloting the use of SIM sessions in our local site orientation. This is being driven by our current residents.

If you want more information on any of these changes, please contact me by email as I would be happy to discuss!


Who am I?

I am James Card, the new site director for the Prince George and Prince George Rural Family Practice Programs. I am a Northern Medical Program graduate and a graduate of the Prince George Family Practice Residency Program. I am currently a rural physician with my clinical practice in Valemount. I am passionate about full-service family practice and Rural medicine. It is my goal to create a program that excels in transitioning residents into competent and confident physicians for Northern and Rural British Columbia.


Who are we?

The Prince George site is one of the largest and most established of the UBC Family Practice residency sites. We have been training residents in Prince George since 1995.

Our hospital is unique for a community this size as most inpatients are still managed by their family physician. We do not have a hospitalist model here. The focus is on full-service Family Practice. Numerous community-based Family Physicians also work in emergency, including many of our graduates.

Historically we are known for extensive hands-on training from enthusiastic preceptors. There is also ample opportunity for teaching as Prince George is home to the Northern Medical Program.

I’ll be honest, our site has also been known for hard work. The call here is heavy, with lots of volume and diverse experiences. While we are modernizing this, we are paying close attention to the volume and diversity of clinical experiences to ensure that the residents are appropriately prepared for independent practice. We produce strong residents (…and strong physicians)! I have heard this from numerous other rural Physicians and I saw this personally as a rural preceptor, working with residents from all over the province.


The community:

There’s a frequent saying in Prince George, “I came here on a 2-year plan”. As a transplant from the Lower Mainland myself, my 2-year plan is now going on 20. There are many reasons for this. This is truly a multicultural and diverse community of friendly people and ample opportunities.


  • Medical community – many of the family physicians here are graduates of our program, there is a reason they stick around!
  • Housing – affordable. Many residents buy. Enough said.
  • Amenities – the community is just big enough for a Costco, two indoor swimming pools and multiple other recreational facilities
  • Opportunity – many opportunities for spouses, children and family.
  • The outdoors – truly amazing. I could go on for hours, please ask. If you are into it, chances are you can do it here. This includes things you would not expect. Sailing? I had a boat here for six years. Diving? Yes, that too. Really, anything!
  • Student loan forgiveness! – yes, you get that too as a resident here.


As is probably obvious by now, I believe Prince George and our program has much to offer the Resident who is interested in hands on hard work with the goal of becoming an excellent, independent, full service, fulfilled Family Physician who can practice competently anywhere.

If you are interested, please come check us out at our open house, or email our Chief Residents at or myself at

I hope to chat with you soon!

Dr. James Card MD, CCFP

Chief Resident Message

Prince George and the rural family medicine sites offer great opportunities for residents to train and apply their learned skills with patients. This site focuses on full scope medicine, allowing residents to gain knowledge and skills in multi-facets of medicine. The R1 year is spent mostly off-service with half days back each week to your home family practice clinic. In R2 during family practice blocks a typical day of a resident could be started conducting rounds in hospital, then attending your family clinic. Certain days a resident may also conduct a house call or deliver a baby. What is unique about this site is that you will have that opportunity to lead patient care as the resident and will be relied upon and have the freedom to make significant decisions. There are also plenty of teaching opportunities from 3rd and 4th year clinical clerks working along side you in the hospital to clinical courses for 1st and 2nd year medical students.  Prince George also has an excellent simulation facility. On top of faculty facilitated SIM sessions we also have semi call protected time each month for resident lead simulation sessions.

As with any site there are challenges, however, it brings a unique practice, which you may not find in other sites. Prince George family practice is truly full service, with family doctors being relied heavily upon to maintain the local healthcare system. It can be busy but rewarding and residents will have an opportunity to gain skills and knowledge, which may not be available at any other site. For instance, during your surgical rotation it is not uncommon for a family resident to be the first assist on cases.  While on other services it is busy enough for there to be multiple opportunities for procedures with little competition from other learners. It is opportunities like this, that allow residents from our site to feel competent and comfortable practicing medicine wherever the future takes them.

The site promotes a family environment for fellow residents to get together on a weekly basis and embrace each other’s experiences with a unique call free Friday’s. The ability to share your challenges, achievements and experiences can help with this sometimes, difficult journey. This also helps promote a strong resident group and friendships that will last long after residency ends.

Prince George is considered the Capital of the North, this large city offers picturesque wilderness and outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, golf and camping.   Prince George is the largest northern center for healthcare, inclusive of surrounding regions, servicing approximately 320,000 people. The University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC) is northern BC’s largest state of the art healthcare facility. Local organizations help set Prince George apart in the healthcare and social assistance sectors through their leadership and innovation in the delivery of healthcare services.

This program incorporates the best practices of rural and remote medical education from around the world, providing outstanding exposure to direct care to patients. Through its collaboration with northern communities, and Northern Health, the program utilizes various acute care facilities, long-term care facilities, community health centers and public health unit to ensure residents in Prince George are ready to take on any challenge their future in family practice hands them!

If you have any further questions about the program, feel free to contact us by e-mail

Drs Brittany Coulthard and David Montoya

Number of Residents: 8 CMG, 4 IMG, and 3 Northern Rural
Location: Prince George, BC
Community: 72,000
Hospital: The University Hospital of Northern British Columbia

Curriculum Type: Block
R2 Elective Time: 12 Weeks
Phone: 250-565-2599
Contact: Director – Dr. James Card – / Coordinator – Lisa Lakusta –
Chief Residents:  Brittany Coulthard & David Montoya –


Lakes and rivers abound with opportunities to kayak, canoe, fish or swim. There is an extensive network of trails for running and mountain biking. Winter activities include a range from cross country skiing, hockey and speed skating. The surrounding area affords easy access to the mountains for camping, backpacking or backcountry skiing. Prince George is home to the Cougars (a Junior A hockey team), a symphony and an excellent semi-professional theater. The beautiful University of Northern British Columbia opened its’ Northern Medical Program in 2004 and graduated its first class in 2008.

Program Highlights

The University Hospital of Northern British Columbia provides referral services to much of Northern BC and includes an emergency department, ICU, ambulatory care facilities and in-patient tower with all major specialties, except cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery and dermatology.

  • Our Purpose is to foster diversity and clinical excellence to produce competent, professional, full service family physicians.  Our Aspiration is to be a connected, vibrant community of adaptable family physicians and trainees, committed to an excellent learning environment, high quality primary care and community health and well-being.
  • Family physicians are involved in the care of most hospitalized patients, do all the primary care obstetrics, and staff the emergency department.
  • Teaching practices located either in a clinic on the grounds of the regional hospital with 17 Family Physicians, or 5 community practices with 9 Family Physicians, providing full service.
  • Primary focus is training for work in communities outside major metropolitan areas with emphasis on procedural skills, primary care and management of acutely ill or injured patients, especially when access to a specialist’s care may be limited.
  • Optional enhanced rural exposure in R2
  • Call is busy, occurs approximately 1:4, with Call free Fridays – a common night off, creating the opportunity for all residents to get together socially.
  • Emphasis on a balanced life with a goal being to afford residents the opportunity to hone personal qualities and skills in a work environment that is challenging but also collegial, supportive and fun

Sample Rotation

Block 1 Block 2 Block 3 Block 4 Block 5 Block 6 Block 7 Block 8 Block 9 Block 10 Block 11 Block 12 Block 13









Native Health




















Current PGY1 Rural options:

Quesnel – General Surgery, ER

Williams Lake – General Surgery, ER, Ob/Gyn, Peds

…and we are working on more!

Interview with a recent Prince George grad

What do you enjoy most about the Prince George (PG) site?

Prince George is a welcoming medical community with a small cohort and low learner to staff ratio which enables the staff to not only know individual residents but to also know academic and clinical strengths and limitations of the individual residents.  This allows for the development of a trusting relationship which affords superb clinical training. The warm welcome is rooted in the family practice group where each resident is matched with a home practice for their two year program.  This provided a solid foundation of family medicine throughout hospital-based rotations and offers the opportunity to provide continuity in patient care as well as develop mentor-like relationships with preceptors.

What kind of learning opportunities are available at the Prince George Site?

The PGY- 1 year is structured in block rotations that includes a two month rotation in the resident’s home family practice office.  This is complimented by weekly office half days that allow for the development of a “resident practice” and a reminder of how each rotation is relevant to our future as family physicians.

In the PGY-2 year residents have 12 weeks of elective time to accommodate their own learning objectives. There is a 5 month family medicine block with integrated longitudinal exposure to palliative care and geriatrics.  At the end of this rotation, there is the opportunity to do a “trial locum” under the supervision of attending family medicine staff.

There is an 8 week emergency rotation with excellent teaching and the opportunity for the resident to “run the department” within their abilities and challenges residents that are up for it. Further critical care training is provided in a closed ICU where the PGY-2 works with the intensivist as the sole learner; there is ample bedside teaching to help prepare the family medicine resident and ample opportunity for procedures.

Does it get fairly competitive with the other residents?

No. The distribution of the first and second year residents throughout the hospital makes virtually no learner conflict for clinical opportunities and procedures. The presence of clinical clerks both in their third-year rotations and visiting fourth-year electives also provides ample opportunity to act as a resident teacher and supervise clinical opportunities and procedures. There are senior residents in internal medicine with CTU, and often in general surgery, and OBGYN whose presence typically benefits our learning as they act as mentors and offer valuable bedside clinical teaching. Our resident group is very close-knit and often can be found spending our leisure time together.

Is the community very welcoming of residents?

The Prince George community and Northern neighbours feel a sense of ownership and pride in the Northern Medical Program and Family Practice Residency.  This spirit comes from the joint efforts of the medical community and community at large to establish these programs in the first place.  Northern communities and citizens are deeply committed to medical training in the north and welcome residents with open arms.

What kind of facilities are available in Prince George?

Within Northern health, there are over two dozen acute-care facilities, 14 long-term care facilities, public health units, and offices providing specialist services.  In Prince George, there is a regularly renovated 5 floor hospital where most family physicians take an active role in caring for their patients.  There is a brand new BC Cancer Agency center which opened in January 2013. The Central Interior Native Health Center provides primary care to First Nations peoples, outreach services to patients with complex problems and those who live close to or on the street.

Other agencies include the Child Development Center, the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Clinic and innumerable travelling specialty clinics. As residents, we have access to this wide range of facilities that provide abundant learning opportunities where the resident finds him or herself to be the sole learner. Prince George means full service family practice.  Rural family medicine offers abundant learning opportunities from preceptors keen to have residents involved in their practice.

Northern Health is known for strong primary health care system. People experience seamless and coordinated service. The ‘Primary Care Home’ is the foundation for multidisciplinary health care and helps people navigate across services.

What traits do you need as a Resident to really appreciate the Prince George site?

The friendly, small size Prince George Site is geared for training as full-service family physicians.  Since there are fewer learners, people who choose the Prince George Site should be relatively independent and motivated to seek out the many learning opportunities available.  As the family physicians in the north have a broader scope of practice, so do the residents have greater opportunity to gain clinical experience, procedural skills, teaching, leadership, community involvement and patient advocacy. If you are willing to commit, engage in the program and take charge of your own residency training, you will complete the two years with a solid foundation and readiness for independent practice.

What do you think is the biggest strength of the Prince George site?

The greatest strength of the Prince George Site is the provision of the clinical foundation so that residents are prepared for independent practice in isolated and remote communities immediately upon graduation. Also, residency is busy… hectic at times!  There is no rush hour, living expenses are very affordable, and access to community recreational resources and an abundance of outdoor recreational pursuits in close proximity to the hospital is invaluable.