Energized and inspired: UK physician finds work-life balance in British Columbia

In 2005, Dr. Narayanappa Dayananda was looking for a change. The family medicine practitioner wanted a better balance of work and play. In rankings of best lifestyles in the world, British Columbia and New Zealand had always scored high, so Dr. Dayananda started researching those destinations as possible new places to call home.

When he had some vacation time, he and his brother travelled to British Columbia. They visited places advertising for physicians on the Health Match BC website. Wanting to be thorough, he also went on an eight-month working holiday in New Zealand. “Eventually it turned out I had made the right choice and Canada was the place for me. I came here and have been happy ever since.”

His family medicine practice in Abbotsford gives him the opportunity to treat all different age groups across a wide range of cultures: Aboriginal people as well as people from Korea, Japan, China, Peru and South Asia are all part of his patient roster.

“When you are seeing different things and different challenges it becomes more exciting; it is no longer routine. There is always something you are learning and learning for me is more enjoyable than dishing out what you already know.”

Dr. Dayananda moved here from the United Kingdom in 2007 and credits Health Match BC as being “the perfect guiding hand” in helping with the immigration. His training is extensive. He completed medical school at Bangalore University, and then trained in basic surgery and family medicine in the United Kingdom, where he stayed for 16 years working at different centres, including Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Scotland and Wales.

Having worked in a number of different medical systems, Dr. Dayananda is encouraged that the British Columbia health system gives him room to run his practice the way he chooses. He provides a full family medical practice with a particular interest in elderly care. He also incorporates methods not commonly adopted in primary care treatment models, such as group sessions designed to encourage and assist individuals to make dietary changes beneficial to their health. Firmly committed to contributing to the growth of his profession, Dr. Dayananda hopes to be actively involved in both teaching and research.

When not at the clinic, Dr. Dayananda can be found working in his garden, a new passion since moving here. His backyard is bordered by the Fraser River where he has his own dock and boat.

“For me, Canada has been a very spiritual experience. It is not something I could explain very easily,” he said. “It just somehow feels like this is where I should be. I am at peace here.”

Now, when he boards a plane back to British Columbia after visiting family and friends, he does not think: “I am going to British Columbia.” Instead, he thinks: “I am going home.”

Watch a video interview with Dr. Dayananda and learn what other physicians have to say about working and living in British Columbia on

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