How many places in this world would a doctor be able to have breakfast each morning at home with family and then be at work a few minutes later, meeting with patients? For most of us, the answer would be - not many. However, Melfort, Saskatchewan offers family physicians like Dr. Stephanie Nyberg this luxury.
“A typical day for me starts off with breakfast at home, which is always a plus. I’m here (at work) in five minutes, I have free parking almost literally at the front entrance to the hospital and then I’m checking on patients from overnight and making my rounds shortly after.”
Dr. Nyberg recently started practising family medicine in Melfort, a city of just over 5,000 people in northeast Saskatchewan. Melfort is a farming community with all of the amenities not far from bigger locations like Prince Albert and Saskatoon. Dr. Nyberg is one of many family physicians in Melfort who see a range of patients every day. Depending on the day, Dr. Nyberg and her colleagues see people with chronic conditions as well as those with severe and acute emergency issues that vary in scope and severity. Dr. Nyberg also enjoys the variety of obstetric cases in Melfort, although sometimes she admits it is a bit overwhelming as the number of obstetric visits she sees in Melfort sometimes rivals larger tertiary hospitals in Saskatoon or Regina.
“We do it all here in Melfort. The typical call schedule is one in 12, which is great and when you are on call, you’re it. That’s not to say you absolutely can’t get a hold of another physician while you’re on call. Everyone here is really good about leaving their cell numbers with each other so that if you do need a second opinion or want to run something by another doctor you can. I don’t think you would find that type of collegiality in a larger hospital or city. The health care teams here are great as well. The nurses, therapists, technicians, everyone here is super helpful so you never really feel like you’re just ‘it.’”
Dr. Nyberg was born and raised in Saskatchewan, graduated from high school in Regina, completed her medical degree at the University of Saskatchewan, and finished her residency in Regina. She doesn’t plan on moving anytime soon. Dr. Nyberg decided to make Melfort home for a couple of reasons, one of them being her partner who also works in the community. They both felt it is a great place to settle in.
“Working and living in a place this size is great. Not only do you work together, rely on each other for professional support and have an opportunity to work with a team of health care providers from many disciplines, you also have an opportunity to see those same people in the community. That may not be something you could experience in a larger city. We have dinners together, parties, potlucks and things like that all the time. Then, if you want to experience the outdoors Melfort is literally only a few miles away from camping, fishing, snowmobile trails, ski trails and a ski hill. All of these great outdoors activities are right at your doorstep.”
Dr. Nyberg found that choosing where to practise was made easier by knowing what to expect. “I did my PREP (Physician Recruitment Agency of Saskatchewan’s Rural Externship Program) placement in Melfort a couple of years ago so I wasn’t totally surprised to find out what the workplace and community were like. I enjoyed my experience. You get to do a lot of things in a place like this that you wouldn’t get anywhere else. I think some of the placements in the larger cities allow you to only look over someone’s shoulder; here you were actually doing things.”
Hear Dr. Nyberg’s story in her own words by watching her video on saskdocs’ Vimeo channel. While you're there, subscribe to our channel to learn more about the many great physicians like Dr. Nyberg who are practising in Saskatchewan.