Dr. Kirk McCarroll, a GP Anesthetist based in Golden, BC, is the new lead for the Rural Coordination Centre of BC’s (RCCbc) GP Anesthesia Network (GPA Network).
McCarroll is stepping into the role recently vacated by Dr. Davy Dhillon of Vanderhoof, BC, who successfully steered the Network through the provincial privileging project, and organized a two day GPA conference in Prince George in November, 2014. RCCbc would like to thank Dr. Dhillon for his service and enthusiastic and thoughtful leadership.
In a letter sent to the members of the GPA Network, McCarroll noted that he intends to ensure that the network would continue to provide “the broad scope of anesthetic services that are so valuable to rural British Columbians” and would also continue “to push for an environment that will nurture the growth and development of GP anesthesia in our province.”
McCarroll was drawn to family practice anesthesia while working in Iqaluit. He practiced in the north shortly after graduating from the UBC Prince George Family Practice Residency program, and found himself accompanying hemodynamically unstable patients in small airplanes during medevacs. During these flights, he was responsible for managing the patient’s ventilator and, like many new graduates, felt uncomfortable with the task. “Working in that environment,” he recalls, “I felt that anesthesia would be the best skill set to make my job a lot more enjoyable and provide a better level of care to people who are really critically ill in remote settings.”
After completing UBC’s year-long R3 Enhanced Skills Program for FP Anesthesia in 2006, McCarroll went on to work in Prince Rupert, Port Alberni, Yellowknife, Trail, and Revelstoke. He has worked in a variety of settings throughout his GP Anesthesia career, from a full-service rural GP model in Prince Rupert to a selective practice of anesthesia/ICU in the regional hospital in Trail. He and his wife, GP Dr. Kate McCarroll, both currently practice in Golden, BC, where McCaroll has returned to a general practice/anesthesia setting. “In Golden, I have the style of practice that brings me every day joy and satisfaction,” says McCarroll. “Locally, there is a hard-working, blue collar population, and there are a lot of high risk recreational activities like the [Kicking Horse] ski hill, paragliding, skydiving, whitewater rafting. The highway, too, creates a lot of trauma, so there are many medically challenging, interesting cases. I found that my skill set was really welcomed when we came here and I felt like a big part of the team.”
McCarroll is still settling into the role of Lead of the GPA Network but already has some ideas about what could unfold over the next few months. His focus will be on continuing to facilitating CME/CPD for GP anesthetists, building on the work that Dhillon accomplished in 2014. He will be supporting Drs. James Kim and Julie Paget’s ongoing discussions for the creation of an accredited GP Anesthesia simulation training course, and will be working with the network to explore how GPAs can work to meet the requirements of the new provincial privileging dictionary. “I think [the health authorities] need to step up and make sure that we [the physicians] are able to meet the criteria of the new privileging dictionaries,” says McCarroll. “The pressure is on the health authorities to ensure that each of the GPAs at rural sites has adequate number of hours to meet those criteria. This could represent a chance to push for more OR time in rural communities, especially in light of the shortage of specialist anaesthesiologists. I don’t know of any GPA that wouldn’t like more time in the OR.”
He is also interested in documenting the precise skill sets of GP Anesthetists throughout BC and has created a survey to help him collect this information. “I think it would be really worthwhile to document the current GPA skill sets and then repeat the survey in two or three years to observe what changes have occurred. If there’s a reduction in our local health services, I think it’s important for the population to know that.”