Submitted by Dr. Ray Markham
Who am I? And why am I here?
These are two great questions that follow us throughout our lives it seems – philosophical questions that I am happy to take on in more depth with you any time over a coffee or a glass of beer or wine. Email me if you’d like to arrange a time to talk.
However, pertaining to the RCCbc Executive director role, who am I?
I am blessed to be a husband of an amazing wife and father of two beautiful girls, and a rural GP practicing in full-service primary care with the team in Valemount, BC for more than a decade now. Prior to this, I was born in Zimbabwe, and moved to Cape Town, South Africa to complete my undergradate training. From there, I worked in rural South Africa and rural Newfoundland before heading to the UK to complete postgraduate training in General Practice. Most recently, my involvement with the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc) began with my work with the fantastic UBC Rural CPD team and the RCCbc Education sector a few years ago.
Why am I here, taking on this role with this great organisation? For me, the reason is the same as the reason for my love of work in rural BC: I believe caring about our patients is as important as caring for our patients as we serve them. This is best illustrated by a recent “aha” experience I had in Valemount: we host a number of health care professionals who pass through the clinic in various roles from medical, nursing and Nurse Practitioner students to practice ready assessment (PRA-BC) candidates, rural locums, etc. At the end of their time with us, we sit down with each individual to learn from their experience with us. (What went well? What could have gone better? And so on…). On one such encounter, a practitioner told us “I can see that your team does really care about your patients” and then related a story about a colleague who had gone above and beyond to advocate for a patient with a system that seemed not to be seeing the issues.
This really struck me, as we all care about our patients as we serve them. Sometimes, it is harder for our care about our patients to manifest (time pressures, frustration with system barriers, etc.). In Valemount we are fortunate enough to practice in a context where this fact was manifest to this person in some small way, through the cooperation of our team, our Health Authority, and our community partners. We are by no means perfect but continue to strive together to improve and make it more so.
Over the years working with Granger and the RCCbc team, I see a group that is part of a network that sees the value in us caring about as well as for our patients and communities in rural BC. We have the privilege of doing this through our work as physicians as we serve our patients. The RCCbc team is dedicated to helping make BC a place where caring about our patients is facilitated and valued. I am honoured to join the RCCbc team as its new Executive Director and welcome any thoughts or feedback on how the care we have about the people and communities of rural BC can be made more manifest as we serve them.
You can email Dr. Markham at firstname.lastname@example.org