Prince George

Site Director Message

Welcome to the Prince George site!

I’m James Card, the Site Director for the Prince George and Northern Rural Family Practice Programs.

I am a Northern Medical Program and Prince George Family Practice Residency Program graduate and am currently a rural physician with my clinical practice in Valemount. I’m passionate about full-service family practice and rural and remote medicine.

I believe our Prince George program offers a great deal to Residents interested in hands-on, hard work with the goal of becoming an excellent, independent, full service, fulfilled Family Physician who can practice competently anywhere they want.

Here’s why:

Established Program

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 and it’s my goal to create a program that excels in transitioning residents into competent and confident physicians for Northern and Rural British Columbia.

Our Hospital & Full-Service Family Practice Training

Our hospital is unique for a community this size as most inpatients are still managed by their family physician. 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.

Strength-Building Program

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

Community, Housing, & Opportunities

You know, 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 and here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Student Loan Forgiveness: Yep! You heard me. As a Resident in Prince George, you qualify for student loan forgiveness.

 

  • Medical Community: Many of the family physicians here are graduates of our program and we’ve built a community that encourages them to stick around!

 

  • Housing: Our housing is affordable and many residents buy their first home here.

 

  • Amenities: We have a truly amazing outdoor community. You can sail, dive, swim, ski, run, and climb the mountains. We also have several indoor recreational facilities and access to all the shopping you need!

 

  • Opportunity: Our economy is growing at nearly double the rate of the rest of the province, so we’ve got jobs and plenty of them for your partner, children, and family.

I encourage you to learn more about us if you’re interested in rural medicine with a concentration in full-service (urban or rural) Family Practice which includes office, hospital care, ER, and/or obstetrics and you want to develop a solid foundation of acute care and ER Family Practice skills.

Please feel free to contact me via email at James.Card@unbc.ca with any questions you may have.

I hope to chat with you soon!

Dr. James Card MD, CCFP

Chief Resident Message

You might be wondering what resident life is like. Prince George is a friendly, family-friendly and affordable community which helps when you are finding a place to stay as a resident. Because it is a small town, it is easy to get around and get lots done in a day–you could get off work, go to Costco, go snow-shoeing, then head home. You won’t be stuck in traffic or struggling to get to placements. You get to know your colleagues very well through the residency as it is a fairly small group and we have “call-free Fridays” which allows us to have a guaranteed night each week to spend time together. We have two retreats every year–one is with just the residents, and one is in Jasper with the hospital physicians. We have a local resident resiliency committee that also holds events for us to have optional wellness check-ins. One of the highlights of resident life in Prince George is that firstly it is a very welcoming community. In fact, the community advocated for its own medical school so it is very passionate about the need for medical education. This represents itself when you see that your patients are appreciative to have you training in their community. There is a low staff to learner ratio so it allows the staff to get to know you well, allowing them to work with you on your strengths and weaknesses. You will get to know your family practice office well and will be able to develop a patient panel as you will be with them for the two-year program and will meet your family practice preceptors in organized socials throughout the year.

In your free time, Prince George is considered the Capital of the North; this large city offers picturesque wilderness and outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, golfing and camping. 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, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, sledding 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.

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

Megan Enos and Manpreet Sidhu

pg.fm.chiefs@gmail.com

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: 250-565-2549
Contact: Director – Dr. James Card – James.Card@unbc.ca / Coordinator – Roghieh Soufinia – fpcoordinator@unbc.ca
Chief Residents:  Manpreet Sidhu / Megan Enos – pg.fm.chiefs@gmail.com

Overview

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. 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!

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 complemented 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 opportunity bedside teaching to help prepare the family medicine resident and ample opportunity for procedures.

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 visiting from Vancouver in internal medicine with CTU, and often in general surgery, peds or OB/GYN, 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.

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 219-bed tertiary care hospital, with an ICU and a level 2 NICU. We don’t have a hospitalist model and most of the family physicians within the community take an active role in caring for their patients admitted to hospital.  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 traveling 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. 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.

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, 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.

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
PGY1

ER

Peds

Peds/addictions

FM

FM

IM

IM

Surg

Native Health

Ortho

OB

Ob/Gyn

Psyc

PGY2

ER

ER

Rural

Rural

Elec

FM

FM

FM

Elec

ICU

FM

FM

Elec

 

Current PGY1 Rural options:

Quesnel – General Surgery, ER

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

…and we are working on more!

To get an understanding of what life could be like outside the learning hours, please refer to the Chiefs message above and please don’t hesitate to contact us with any further questions.

Here is a highlight of R1 rotations in Prince George (modified if you are choosing rural options) to get an idea of what your first year would look like:

General Surgery: a 4-week rotation. Potential of being the senior for 1-3 medical students, organizing rounds, organizing medical students, OR assisting or care of ward patients. Opportunity to attend scope clinics, lumps and bumps clinics and wound care clinics etc. Call 1 in 4 in hospital overnight.

 

ER: a 4-week rotation, paired with an ER physician for your shift. 4 hours in acute care, 4 hours in minor, or 8-hour shifts in acute care. Tons of hands-on experience including suturing, intubations, etc. and lots of independence.

Pediatrics: 3 weeks on CTU and 3 weeks on ambulatory. Call is 1:4, with only 1:7 during ambulatory. Potential of being senior for medical students, and lots of 1:1 time with staff. Opportunity to participate in the care of infants in a level III NICU.

Orthopedics: 4 weeks working 1:1 with orthopedic surgeons doing consults in the CAST clinic, assisting in trauma OR and routine replacements, as well as X-ray rounds. 1:4 call.

Obstetrics/Gynecology: 6 weeks of 1:2 call for obstetrics gaining hands-on experience doing deliveries and assessments with family physicians and in complicated cases, assisting in the C-sections with obstetricians. Many residents have 10 or more supervised solo deliveries. 2 weeks of Gynecology gaining skills in office 1:1 with the Gynecologists.

Psychiatry: 4 weeks of a combination of outpatient and inpatient medicine.

Internal Medicine: 7 weeks on CTU and 1 week of ambulatory with no call for ambulatory. 1:4 call for CTU. The most learning is done by residents on this rotation as you work closely in a large team led by an attending physician, clinical teaching associates, pharmacy, and senior internal medicine resident during the day. Opportunities to do skills like ultrasound and weekly ultrasound teaching, as well as thoracentesis/paracentesis. During the night, you gain independence in seeing consults, with backup from your staff.

Family Medicine: two 4-week blocks where you get to spend time in your family practice office.

Addictions: a unique two-week rotation working in adult and youth Detox, opioid agonist therapy clinics, as well as obtaining your prescription privileges for suboxone and methadone.

Central Interior Native Health: This unique rotation focuses on Indigenous health and is a mixture of inpatient and outpatient care. One weekend of call. Loved by all residents; it involves getting to know how to work in an interdisciplinary team and utilize community resources.