Dr. Greg Sawisky is Ponoka’s newest doctor who received much of his medical training right here in town. He liked it so much he decided to move to Ponoka and set up shop at the Battle River Medical Clinic. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Ponoka’s newest doctor praises rural physician training

Dr. Greg Sawisky took part in the rural physician training that kept him in Ponoka

Ponoka’s newest doctor liked his training so much he decided to stay in Ponoka.

Dr. Greg Sawisky received much of his medical school training right in town and setting up shop here felt like a natural fit.

“I got to try it for a year (2014), so I got to see what it was like to be as a small-town doctor,” said Sawisky.

“Following pregnancies from conception to delivery. Following patients in and out of hospital. Following families even,” he added.

For Sawisky, being involved in this type of family medicine is an exciting prospect where relationships are developed over time. That has already come full circle with individuals Sawisky helped in 2014 now becoming his patients.

“That’s a very neat experience. And to see some of my old notes that I wrote on the computer,” he said.

His move to Ponoka is partly due to a major push from Alberta’s university medical programs providing rural medical training as an option. Those programs, alongside the Rural Professions Health Action Plan (RhPAP), have opened doors to bring doctors to rural communities.

“By offering these year-long programs, it really gives the medical students a chance to really try things out and immerse themselves in the full scope family practice,” explained Sawisky.

“To know that the people in this town are helping train the new generation of physicians who ultimately…end up coming back here and working, they’re a valuable contribution to our education.”

What he enjoys most about being a doctor is the wide variety of medical needs that are found with being in a rural community.

Rural training it turns out, is growing in popularity, said Sawisky. “They’re popular because, you as a learner become part of the team.”

“You’re not just this week’s medical student. You’re there for a year.”

Originally from Red Deer, Sawisky has set up shop in the Battle River Medical Clinic and he is excited to get to know residents.

The new Ponoka doctor first received a bachelor’s degree in journalism before eventually switching to medicine.

It’s about being able to meet people and help them out, said Sawisky. “What I enjoy the most is talking to people and getting to know them over time.”

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