Dr. Tarah Millen has lived in three major Canadian cities – Halifax, Ottawa, and St. John’s – but, according to the physician, there is nowhere quite like the town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Dr. Millen grew up in Halifax, then attended medical school in Ottawa and completed her residency in St. John’s before joining a family practice in Lunenburg. Her and her husband spent time vacationing on the South Shore of Nova Scotia and fell in love with the community, the quiet, and the landscape of the region. “Now, I am near my family and I work in a place I love.”

Dr. Millen says working as a physician in rural NS encourages a very collegial environment in which mentorship is readily offered. She adds that having a good mentor and being a part of a close-knit medical community is critical for recruitment, “I took two elective courses during my training in Lunenburg and had such a wonderful mentor that it made my decision to stay here easy.” Now, in addition to working at a family practice with her colleague, business partner, and former mentor, Dr. Kelly, Dr. Millen works as a hospitalist and an emergency room physician at Fishermen’s Memorial Hospital.

When you practice in a place like Lunenburg, you have the benefit of knowing everybody. “Everyone in the healthcare field – nurses, doctors, specialists – are very friendly. We know each other’s partners and children, which allows for a very supportive, connected medical community.” She trusts that this group of people work together as a team to provide their patients with high-quality, timely healthcare.

“We are connected. If I am really worried about a patient, I have access to direct support. I don’t have to send a letter, I just call.” The physicians in the area have developed friendships that go beyond the halls of their facilities and they enjoy time together at social gatherings throughout the year. In June 2019, a local physician couple hosted a summer party for all of the medical staff to get together, spend time outside, and enjoy the beauty of the season.

Dr. Millen also loves her town because every single recreation activity, for children or adults, available in the big city is available here. Whether you want to go the gym, join a triathlon group, or take a tap dancing class, you can do it in Lunenburg.

As a tourist hub, the town attracts food and music festivals, and has several excellent restaurants and farmer’s markets. Her, her husband, and two children spend their time cycling, hiking, camping, and beaching in the summer along the South Shore. In the winter, they enjoy skiing, sledding, and spending time with friends.

“My family really enjoys the peaceful winters. Plus, the friendships we’ve made here really sustain us all year round.”

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