Canadian Doctor Chooses Cranbrook

Canadian Doctor Chooses Cranbrook

December 02, 2018

Dr. Karen Fordham could have launched her career almost anywhere after completing her residency in family practice through Nova Scotia's Dalhousie University. But she chose Cranbrook because "you can find that balance between work and life right outside your doorstep."

Dr. Fordham and her husband JR grew up in Saskatchewan and often vacationed in BC. "We always knew we wanted to live somewhere in BC and chose the Interior to be closer to our relatives on the Prairies. Cranbrook was always at the top of our list."

Researching Options

She said the Health Match BC website proved extremely helpful: "It's user friendly, and provides accurate information about communities and jobs. Other provinces didn't offer the same one-stop type site."

Before making a final decision, the couple was invited by Cranbrook's Red Carpet Welcome Program to visit the scenic town in southeastern BC. While there, they learned detailed information about the community, toured local health facilities and met with family physicians and community leaders. "It's always nice to see a community with your own eyes," she added.

New chapter

The tour sealed the deal, and Dr. Fordham joined the team at the F. W. Green Clinic and moved to Cranbrook with their two mini Australian Shepherds last summer. "The dogs love it here and so do we," she said. "It's such a beautiful part of the world and offers us what we want in terms of lifestyle and work.

"We're both excited to get out skiing and snowboarding next season and we're planning on getting better at mountain biking this summer. I play hockey, and there are three women's teams in Cranbrook, so that's been really fun. 

"Also, if you drive 15 minutes from town you can be out in the middle of mountains and rivers. But if you need to get to the big city it's not hard at all."

Right decision

Dr. Fordham believes she made the right decision to begin her family practice career with the F.W. Green Clinic team. "I wanted the opportunity to do full practice, to do some of the things I was trained for like obstetrics and in-patient care. But I wasn't fully prepared to be on my own, without any specialist backup.

"This is my first job out of residency, so it's been an adventure. But it's a really good environment at the clinic, which has seven other doctors. My patients are a nice mix. Doing obstetrics provides a good variety with the newborns and prenatal. I also work with the geriatric population. And I see a lot of younger people, including college students, when I work at the sexual health clinic."

No regrets

Dr. Fordham said being constantly on-call, particularly in obstetrics, can be difficult. "We're lucky to have a couple of semi-retired physicians who locum for us. That allows us to take time off when needed instead of always working and getting burned out." 

The past year has been a big transition: "It's my first job out of training, with no one hovering over me and monitoring what I'm doing. It's been a huge learning curve where everything ends with me."

But she has no regrets. "Cranbrook has so much to offer, including a chance to find a balance between life and work."

Originally posted August 26, 2015.