A Canada license takes time.


I wait, and I don’t get a call

About Canada and the upcoming fall

I’m a little bit vexed

What shall I do next?

I’m about at the end of my stall.

Synopsis: I’m a Family Practitioner from Sioux City, Iowa. In 2010 I danced back from the brink of burnout, and honoring a 1 year non-compete clause, travelled and worked in out-of-the-way places in Alaska, Nebraska, Iowa, and New Zealand. After three years working with a Community Health Center, I am back having adventures in temporary positions until they have an Electronic Medical Record System (EMR) I can get along with. I spent the winter in Nome, Alaska, followed by assignments in rural Iowa and suburban Pennsylvania. After my brother-in-law’s funeral, a bicycle tour of northern Michigan, and cherry picking in Sioux City, I’m travelling back and forth between home and Pennsylvania. Any patient information has been included with permission.

Work proceeds on my Canadian license.

Just as each US state has its own medical licensure board, so does each Canadian province.  Just as once licensed in, say, Wyoming, getting licensure in Colorado becomes much easier, similarly a license in British Columbia will make other Canadian licenses less complicated.

My New Zealand license worked for the whole country.  I never even learned all the districts.

But the first Canadian license takes a lot of time.   I started in April.

In New Zealand, compensation came as a package, with no room for negotiation.  The agency got all its funding from the state, and took nothing from either the doc or the client.

My Canadian recruiter receives a finder’s fee from the client, but the doc negotiates directly for compensation, transportation, and housing.

In the US, the recruiter negotiates things like rate, which always includes transportation, car rental, housing, and professional liability insurance.  Those negotiations represent value and labor, and the recruiter gets a chunk of the total package.

Thus less of the total pie in Canada goes to the recruiter and more to the doctor.

The process has gone slowly.  So slowly that I have started to question the viability of an October 6 start date.  Part of the problem stemmed from the 2 weeks’ vacation taken by a key player in the licensing process, another part came from unclear expectations for documentation.

Bethany and I have started talking about where we want to go if Canada falls through, and we came up with Wyoming, Navajoland, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.

We’d like to go back to Wyoming, where we originally met, and, after our experience in Alaska, the idea of the winter doesn’t scare us.

When we arrived in Navajoland I had just finished residency, our first child hadn’t had her first birthday, and we grew together as a couple there.  The Indians taught us a lot about hospitality, and I learned to hunt there.  We’re both curious to see what has happened to the culture in the last 30 years.  And certainly the culture has changed.

I’ve now made seven trips to Alaska.  It’s a very, very big place, and I’ve only scratched the surface.  I’ve not experienced the interior or the Mat-Su valley.

Bethany suggested Puerto Rico because living there would force her to learn Spanish.

And, all in all, we’d rather have a good spot in Wyoming than a bad spot in Puerto Rico.

But the American Academy of Family Practice’s Annual Scientific Assembly starts in a few weeks in Denver, and I know that I’ll be able to talk to dozens of recruiters.

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