April 26, 2018
One of the perks of being the Chief Medical Officer is having the opportunity to meet physicians in their places of work. In my first four months, I’ve been to Swift Current, Prince Albert, Yorkton and Regina. In my home city of Saskatoon, I’ve met new colleagues and re-connected with old friends.
Across the province, I’ve been to clinics, wards, wall walks and meetings. In each and every city I am inspired and energized by the good work being done, most often with considerable physician leadership and support. I’d like to share a couple of highlights from these encounters with you.
In Yorkton, I started a very full day with the
Sunrise Health and Wellness Centre Team. I was impressed by how all members of the
interdisciplinary team work together in a warm and welcoming space that has clearly been thoughtfully co-designed with patients, family and staff.
In Saskatoon, I helped prepare and serve a
Valentine’s Day chili dinner at the Friendship Inn along with many physicians from across my home city and beyond. This amazing day was spearheaded by
Dr. Annette Epp, a remarkable physician leader in Saskatoon. Each time I remember how I spent February 14, I am reminded how fortunate I am to always have a roof over my head and warm food to eat. No matter where I go I can see how proud our practitioner staff are of the good work being done across our province.
I’m also hearing that many of you are recognizing the same thing I am — that when we successfully re-design care for the benefit of our patients, our own days at work are also improved. I also gain a better understanding of your frustrations. While our profession can be incredibly rewarding, we work in challenging environments and this can take a toll. I’m glad we are starting to talk more openly about the impact that our work can have on our physical and emotional well-being and the ripple effects that causes in our families when we come home from work. I think about the health and wellness of physicians often, so you can expect to hear more from me on this topic in the months ahead.
Mostly, I’m encouraged and inspired. What I’ve seen so far in this position reinforces what I already know— it is possible (not easy, but possible) to make our system work better for us and our patients, and their families. As physicians, we have the privilege and opportunity to lead this work. This drive to improve our health system defines the work ahead for all of us in the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
To date, I’ve only met a very small segment of our practitioner staff across Saskatchewan. I’m working to find the balance between being available to the Executive Leadership Team, my dyad partner
Beth Vachon – Vice President Quality, Safety and Strategy and our newly formed portfolio team, while traveling across the province meeting SHA practitioners. You are my eyes and ears, and I’m eager to learn from you. Please share with me what you are proud of, what barriers you and your colleagues are experiencing, and what I and the Executive Leadership Team can do to help all of us transform health care in this province. I can be reached at
Looking forward to getting on the road again.
Dr. Susan Shaw Chief Medical Officer