The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSA) says very few doctors in the province are providing the after-hours care they are supposed to offer their patients — so they’re making a few changes to the rules.
Physicians will now be required to either collaborate with colleagues in an on-call rotation, or pursue a formal written agreement with a service like Health Link — ensuring their patients will have access to doctors in case of an urgent medical problem.
Kelly Eby, director of communication for the CPSA, says only about 1/3 of their members currently have after-hours care arrangements in place for patients.
Radiology resident Chris Nicholas doesn’t get to interact with many patients, but if he did, they might recognize him as an internet-famous clothing model.
Even as a medical student, the St. John’s native dressed more formally than his peers — experimenting with different colours and patterns that made him happy.
But his fashionable inclinations turned global when his girlfriend, Becki, convinced him to let her post pictures of his day-to-day outfits on Instagram. Before long, his account (@TheDoleBoy) was up to 10,000 followers.
“The majority of my Instagram followers are guys who are just looking for daily fashion inspiration in their feeds,” says Nicholas, 30, who is currently on a month-long rural rotation in Corner Brook.
His Instagram success has led numerous men’s’ brands to reach out and offer free clothing, shoes, ties, and accessories. If Nicholas likes their products, he’ll suggest a few pieces they can mail them. Becki will photograph him wearing the items as part of his daily outfits, and he’ll tag the brand’s Instagram account as a tip of the hat.
“The whole fashion industry is changing, and companies are choosing to reach out to people with a solid online following to promote their products — rather than paying for print or TV ads,” says Nicholas. “They’re picking more real people to be ambassadors for their brand. All of my 10,000+ followers are interested in men’s’ fashion, so they’re reaching a highly-targeted audience.”
One brand flew him to New York City for a photo shoot, and Nicholas hints that you may see his picture on giant posters at malls across the world this fall and winter.
“I spent two of my vacation days in a swanky hotel in the meatpacking district, going to fittings and shoots, and then the next day I was driving out to Corner Brook, Newfoundland for a new rotation. It felt like I was living a double life.”
UPDATED: Chris starred in this video for ALDO Shoes
But that isn’t the only project Nicholas has on the go. He and his girlfriend, Becki, started their own DIY blog (theuncommonlaw.ca) to chronicle their adventures in home remodeling. Their handiwork gained international attention when they created X-ray lightboxes for their living room as a unique way to display photographs.
“We’ve done most of the work ourselves to save a bit of cash, and we’ve learned to do things as we go,” says Nicholas. “So far, we’ve done the master bedroom, the kitchen, the living room, Becki’s office, the basement, a half-bathroom, and my office. We also turned one bedroom into a giant walk-in closet, so basically we turned a four-bedroom house into a one-bedroom house.”
Nicholas graduated from Memorial University’s School of Medicine in 2011, and is scheduled to finish his residency in 2016. He will be attending a one year fellowship in 2016 to sub specialize in interventional radiology, an area of medicine that uses imaging technology to perform minimally invasive procedures.
Technology is a huge part of Nicholas’s spare time, and he says there have been interesting tech developments in radiology as well.
“The emphasis right now seems to be on dose reduction,” says Nicholas. “People realize that you’re not going to substantially improve your diagnostic ability with prettier, noise-free images. So as technology advances, image quality is held relatively constant while the amount of radiation used is reduced. The emphasis is on the patient.”
He isn’t worried about whispers of outsourcing radiology to other countries in order to cut costs, because he says that the cheaper price isn’t giving hospitals the same results.
“It’s important not to discount the value of an in-house radiologist from a consulting point,” says Nicholas. “Clinicians will often call to chat about complex patients. When there’s an open dialogue, often times we’re able to suggest additional or alternative imaging tests that may be better suited to answer the clinical question. Sometimes we’ll suggest other differential diagnoses that might not have been on the referring team’s radar.”
He refuses to let his work suffer, and always prioritizes his professional commitments over his “fun little side projects.”
“I don’t want people to think radiology isn’t my No. 1 choice, because it is,” says Nicholas. “I was that kid who said they wanted to be a doctor in Grade 2, and never changed my mind.”
He wants other residents and medical students to understand the importance of having hobbies that make them happy — and give them a little down-time from the rigours of medicine.
“Don’t let your hobbies consume you, or people may stop thinking of you as ‘well-rounded’ and start thinking of you as ‘unfocused’ or ‘unprofessional,’” cautions Nicholas.
“Your career always needs to come first, but you still want to have fun hobbies so you don’t burn out.”
Physician recruitment specialist John Philpott understands the frustration of foreign doctors who move to Canada in search of better lives, but end up having to take other jobs because they can’t find residency seats.
“This is a national problem that we’ve been dealing with for 20 years,” says Philpott, chief executive officer of Halifax-based CanAm Physician Recruiting.
“Shame on the government of Canada for granting landed immigrant status to doctors without providing them with a pathway for licensing.”
Only two nations in the world tax their citizens who live abroad. One of them is a small and vicious African dictatorship. The other is the world’s most powerful democracy.
Does the U.S. really want to share this distinction with Eritrea?
It’s true that most expatriate Americans end up with no U.S. taxes to pay on their worldwide income, because they can exclude some income and offset host country taxes against what remains. Yet all must file and many do pay, because anomalies are rife. Apart from this, the principle is simply wrong.