Three more physicians are now practising in Estevan, bringing the physician count for the city to 16.
Dr. Uroos Jabeen is a family physician who has established her practice at the Estevan Medical Group, located in the hospital foundation building adjacent to St. Joseph’s Hospital. Dr. Neal Cabigon and Dr. Jackie Chou are also family physicians, and they have established a practice along with Dr. Edward Krickan to form the South East Medical Group, which is also in the hospital foundation building.
Jabeen received her education and medical training in Pakistan.
“The place where I studied was basically a rural area at that time, but now it has also developed into a city,” said Jabeen.
She started her career in a remote village as a family physician, and she called it the best experience she ever had. She didn’t have facilities and the amenities that she has now at St. Joseph’s.
Jabeen dropped out of family practice for some time, but then picked it up again and worked as an anesthesiologist and a family physician, and in emergency room settings. The hospital where she worked looked after a population of eight million.
St. Joseph’s marks her first job in Canada. She moved to Canada in 2013, and as a foreign medical graduate, she had to go through a series of examinations. Those exams were completed in 2014.
But credential verification to get her documents verified from back home took some time. Then she had to go through another exam and a clinical field assessment before she could start practising.
“I was persistent. I didn’t give up,” she said. “I kept on working on it, and that’s why I’m here today.”
Most of the people she has met in Estevan have been through work, and they have been very nice. She finds the people of Saskatchewan to be welcoming and co-operative.
St. Joseph’s is a great hospital to work, and she looks forward to familiarizing herself with all that the hospital has to offer.
Cabigon noted that this isn’t the first time he has been in Estevan, and so he has an idea of what to expect from the hospital and the community.
He has had several stints in Estevan, and he said St. Joseph’s Hospital executive director Greg Hoffort has been recruiting him.
“I came first as a medical student, and I worked with Dr. (Edward) Tsoi. He’s really been my biggest mentor, and he’s probably the reason I’m here. And then I came back as a resident physician – I think that was about three years ago.”
Cabigon and Chou just wrapped up their last year in emergency medicine training before coming to Estevan. They did their residency training together as well, which is when they became friends.
“We worked part-time in the emergency rooms as well, and then we came here for the other parts of the month.”
After four days in the South East Medical Group clinic, Cabigon spent his first day in the emergency room on Friday, which was good, he said, because that’s where he feels the most comfortable.
“Jackie and I have each done an extra year of specialty training in emergency medicine, and we just wrote our emergency exams for certification, so hopefully we have both passed with flying colours, and then we’ll be fully set.”
He expects Estevan will provide a lot of variety, and it will allow them to do a lot for the people of the community.
Cabigon’s father practised medicine, and recently retired, and that was a factor in Cabigon wanting a career as a doctor.
Chou said it will be beneficial to work with both Cabigon and Krickan. He noted that Krickan was his senior resident in Prince Albert, so there is a pre-existing connection between the two.
“We get along very well on a personal level and a professional level, so I imagine it will be seamless as we start working together here,” said Chou.
He grew up in The Pas, Man., and sees some similarities in terms of the size of the communities and the way they’re laid out.
He had only been in Estevan once before, for a site visit in the recruitment process, but he was impressed.
“Greg made it very easy for us to learn about the community, to come to do a site visit, and he introduced us to everyone and felt right at home.”
Meanwhile, Krickan told them how easy it was for him to integrate into the community. He hopes his integration with be as smooth as Krickan’s.
Chou believes medicine is a career that allows him to guide people through difficult times in their lives. During his medical training, he enjoyed every component, and that’s why he went into family medicine.
“You get to see a little bit of everything,” said Chou. “And then I realized the scary things, the things that no one likes to see like accidents and car crashes – I … never wish that on anyone – but I always felt very well-equipped to be the person (to handle) those situations,” he said.
Hoffort said Estevan now has 13 family physicians among the 16 physicians in the community. The other three in the city are specialists.
Four of the 13 family physicians have a sub-specialty.
He believes 16 physicians is a nice number to have.
“We’re hoping that all of our physicians stay forever, but things happen and people move on. We’re certainly searching out another physician with anesthesiology privileges, and then that would make us really pleased,” said Hoffort.
Recruiting another anesthesiologist would be a big addition, because that person supports several other people.
He’s pleased the efforts of a lot of people have been rewarded with six physicians coming since June.