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Mentoring the next generation of physicians; Leading recruitment in rural Nova Scotia

Dr. Kenny Yee of Barrington Passage has been shaping physicians for eighteen years.

Dr. Kenny Yee’s career has not gone how he originally intended, but he says in the end he wouldn’t change a thing.

Born in Malaysia, he completed medical school in Australia and intended to specialize in orthopaedic surgery. Difficulties obtaining a visa to continue his studies resulted in him practising family medicine in New Zealand.

“Hindsight is 20/20, but that was the best thing that happened to me,” said Dr. Yee. “I’m happy to be in family medicine and if I could go back, I wouldn’t do anything different!”

A few years later, he and his wife Linda moved to Canada to be nearer her family as they awaited the birth of their first child. In the early-nineties, international medical graduates (IMGs) had trouble finding positions, except in Nova Scotia.

 For Dr. Yee, connecting with a mentor early in his career in Nova Scotia was a huge benefit to career and helped him make a home in Nova Scotia.

Dr. William Hunter Blair and his wife Sue become incredible mentors for Dr. Yee and his wife during their immigration.

“It made a world of difference having not only a fellow physician mentor, but one who was also from away trying to settle into a new world,” said Dr. Yee. “Dr. Blair and his wife’s combined wisdom on life, work and business was invaluable.” 

Dr. Yee settled in Barrington Passage and despite speculation he wouldn’t stay, he’s been a fixture for twenty-two years.

In addition to his busy family practice, Dr. Yee has taken on a number of leadership roles to increase his job satisfaction. His roles include examiner for the Royal College of Family Physicians and medical director for three long-term care facilities. However, one of the most critical is his role in physician recruitment.

For the past eighteen years, Dr. Yee has mentored medical students, residents and IMGs in an effort to recruit them to his community and he takes great reward from this work. He remembers the important role Dr. Blair played in his life during the early days of his medical career and is passionate about doing the same for our future physicians.

 “It gives me the opportunity to train the next generation of physicians and colleagues, to have the knowledge and the compassion and to have the IQ and the ‘EQ’ or emotional quotient when caring for their patients,” says Dr. Yee. “Giving back for the benefit of the profession and the community is only reasonable and fair,” he adds.

 His recruitment work has paid off. Drs. Manel Premachandra and Noel Baker practice in the community as his colleagues.

Competent family physicians are an asset and essential to the health of our communities,” says Dr. Yee. “If physicians care about our communities and the future, we need to invest in recruitment and retention – in the end, we only get back what we put into it,” he adds.

Do you know a doctor that goes above and beyond the call of duty to help improve patient care in Nova Scotia? Add your story to the Story Map today!