How a rural background helped shape a doctor’s work

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s family doctor of the year says practising in a small-town is about getting to know people.

“You respect their privacy but you learn a lot about their personality and character,” said Dr. Jennifer Kuzmicz, a 45-year-old physician and mother of two.

She earned the award from the Saskatchewan College of Family Physicians for her medical accomplishments and approach in her 750-patient practice.

Kuzmicz credits her rural upbringing with shaping the kind of doctor she is today.

She said the development of her people-centred approach to medicine took root early in her life and stemmed from growing up on a farm near the hamlet of Candiac, Sask., and attending Montmartre School.

“I try to make the person in front of me the most important thing and not to feel rushed or distracted because people can tell when you’re not listening,” said Kuzmicz.

Longtime patient Sandy Potter, 92, has benefited from a number of house calls from her over the years and has witnessed her physician go the extra mile in providing medical care.

“When I come in, I bring my little list and she goes over everything with me one by one,” she said.

Colleague Dr. Sarah Liskowich nominated Kuzmicz for the award, citing her contributions to educating future family physicians from first year medical students to residents.

“(Kuzmicz) is a family physician who consistently puts patients first, acts as a role model to colleagues, learners and the interdisciplinary team, advocates for her patients and above all provides high quality continuity of care,” said Liskowich in an email.

Kuzmicz received her fellowship in family medicine in 2014 and has been the Regina family medicine residency training co-ordinator since 2013.

As faculty member in the University of Saskatchewan’s academic family medicine department, Kuzmicz works with physicians who are starting their careers.

As part of the training, she stresses the need for continuing education and the honing of diagnostic skills and places importance on viewing the patient as a whole.

“What I tell residents is to remember these are people, they’re not just patients, and that they don’t necessarily have a lot of experience or knowledge about the health system and they’re depending on you.”

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