Dr. Michelle Dow, a long-serving family physician in Meteghan, NS, has been intimately familiar with challenges associated with physician recruitment in our province. With more than 30 years’ experience, she built a successful medical practice while being actively engaged in local efforts to attract new physicians to her area.
Dr. Dow always dreamed of returning home to serve her local community and to practice medicine in her native language, French. After completing her medical education and a one-year rotating internship at Dalhousie University, she decided to do just that.
At that time, the community had only eight doctors, and although discouraged by others who claimed they didn't need any more physicians, Dr. Dow was determined to make a difference. She purchased land and built her own clinic. After a few years, she remained as one of only two doctors in the area.
“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,” said Dr. Dow
Dr. Dow quickly became drawn to physician recruitment. She began by joining her local recruitment committee and helped organize events where potential candidates could meet local physicians, politicians, and community members. She understood the significance of building connections and showcasing the town's welcoming environment.
Dr. Dow’s recruitment efforts extended beyond her local community. She kept in touch with Francophone students studying medicine in Quebec, particularly those from her hometown. She would send them exam care packages filled with items that reminded them of home. This gesture not only provided support but also conveyed the message that their future was important to those back home, encouraging them to consider returning to practice.
As time went on, Dr. Dow's involvement in recruitment activities expanded. Through her work with Doctors Nova Scotia, she networked with professionals across the province, including those in the Department of Health. Her dedication and passion for recruitment did not go unnoticed.
“When I saw the MD Recruitment and Retention Lead opportunity, I thought ‘this job is made for me!’” she said.
In her role as the MD Recruitment and Retention Lead in the Western Zone, Dr. Dow's responsibilities include traveling to different places, meeting residents and physicians, and introducing them to the opportunities available in Nova Scotia.
Her belief in the power of face-to-face interactions has led her to personally connecting with potential candidates.
Dr. Dow acknowledged the growing challenges in recruiting family practice physicians. She noted that today's residents often prefer locum positions and exploring various settings. Embracing this diversity, she advocates for creating programs that cater to their preferences.
“Early in my career, physicians would settle in one place for their entire career. Today's residents often prefer locum positions and exploring various settings. They want a balance between office work, hospitalist roles, and emergency medicine,” explained Dr. Dow.
Dr. Dow's passion for recruitment and her dedication to both her clinical practice and the MD Recruitment and Retention role have made her an invaluable asset to her community and the province. She continues to inspire and attract new physicians to serve the people of Nova Scotia, ensuring the availability of quality healthcare in their hometown. Her story serves as a powerful reminder of the impact that one person's determination and passion can have on an entire community.