Over the years, my studies and work have taken me from Edmonton, Alberta to Halifax, Nova Scotia to Calgary to Mayerthorpe, Barrhead and Grande Prairie, Alberta to Kitchener, Ontario and to Medicine Hat, Alberta. I have seen a great deal of this beautiful country and lived and practiced in both metropolitan and rural areas. Calgary’s population – as of last count – is approaching one million at 988,195 while Mayerthorpe occupies the other end of the spectrum at 1,398.
Through all my travels, I’ve reserved a place in my heart for the rural practice. I feel that it’s easy to get lost in a big city – and I don’t just mean physically. I’ve always felt most comfortable in a smaller town. When the opportunity to work in Camrose presented itself, I jumped at the chance.
Before I came to Camrose in early 2009, I had worked for five years in Medicine Hat. I loved the city and was very happy there but part of me still longed for a more rural setting. I would think fondly on my early years in Edmonton and the time I spent in the country away from the bustle of city life. I realized that those experiences had never left me and had served to become a core piece of my life and to what it meant to be me, Arkadiusz Jaroni.
When I noticed that the Rural Physician Action Plan website was advertising the need for a doctor in Camrose, I decided it seemed like a good opportunity and applied my name, Arkadiusz Jaroni, for the open position. I liked the fact that Camrose was quite a bit smaller than where I was currently living but yet big enough to keep me busy.
Camrose also holds the added benefit of being near Edmonton where I spent my youth. In fact, my family is still in Edmonton so that was definitely part of the draw. I can see myself staying in Camrose for quite a while. In fact, this is the last place I am going to work. Hopefully, if my health holds up, I will be able to stick around and make this the place where I finish my career.
Many physicians are hesitant to practice in rural communities because of all that is expected of them. After spending ten years in a big city completing their medical education and residency, most physicians have had very little exposure to rural areas or are at least now accustomed to city life. To counteract this trend, I feel that it is important to have rural family practice training programs like rural south, which encompasses Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, and rural north, which encompasses Red Deer and Grande Prairie. These programs give doctors the opportunity to see what practicing medicine is like in smaller communities. The exposure they get from working in smaller communities makes them naturally more comfortable working there. From this experience, they see the benefits and are not fazed with the possible problems because they now know how to deal with them.
As the medical director at St. Mary’s Hospital and the Community Medical Director for Camrose, Beaver and Flagstaff counties, I am acutely concerned about the quality of care offered in rural communities. Practicing in Camrose gives me the opportunity to satisfy many of my lifelong goals and to work toward improving the quality of medical care in rural areas.