“I find it a joy coming to work every day.”
After completing medical school and a one year rotating internship, Dr. Michelle Dow built her family practice clinic from the ground up in her natal Acadian village. “In retrospect, I’m grateful that I came back to my hometown because I’ve been able to establish a 32-year practice in a community that I love,” says Dr. Dow about her work in Meteghan, NS, where she practices in both French and English.
When a physician chooses to work in rural NS, they are choosing to work as a team with their colleagues and patient-group. This teamwork, according to Dr. Dow, requires forward-thinking and initiative from the all members of the community. She credits Clare Health Centre as a product of this unrelenting teamwork, “This is a true collaborative practice that came out of municipal efforts – not provincial or federal – to ensure we could provide, and receive, high-quality health care.” These efforts show that the medical community in which she works is committed to a collaborative environment, ideal for expanding experiences, and receiving and offering mentorship from family physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and other medical staff.
Dr. Dow and her colleagues connect twice a year for a team-building social gathering, but says she sees them outside of work regularly in their day to day lives. There is ample opportunity for doctors of all ages to become hockey coaches or group leaders, recalling “When you work in a small place, it only takes a short time before you feel like you belong.” She is proud to work in an open and welcoming community.
When she isn’t working, Dr. Dow and her husband are likely enjoying the beauty of their region at home in their garden and greenhouse, or at their lakefront cottage where they swim and kayak. In the warmer months, she golfs at the course just down the street from their home and bikes through the local trails and safe streets. She even participates in the Gran Fondo, a mass-cycling ride that brings together road cyclists of all abilities. In the winter, Dr. Dow spends most of her time socializing with friends and family, bringing their meetings to the woods where they can cross-country ski and snowshoe.
“I feel blessed and rewarded to be here. Not only am I surrounded by oceans and lakes, but I am surrounded by a community that is grateful for the work we provide.”