Rural medicine feels like home

Dr Clayton Hammet Banner


Dr. Clayton Hammett grew up watching his father work as a family physician in a small town of 5,000 in Port Perry, Ontario. For a time, he flirted with the idea of becoming a high school teacher, but veered towards medicine in his third year of pursuing his bachelor’s degree in life sciences. Dr. Hammett notes, “Medicine is something I grew up with, I saw my father give us a good life and it allowed us to live in a nice rural community.”

After completing his training in Ontario and becoming a general practitioner/anesthetist (GPA), Dr. Hammett and his wife moved to a small rural community in Australia where he practiced for five years in Pambula, New South Wales. Dr. Hammett returned after five years to work in the Kenora, Ontario. Last May, he and his family moved to Fernie, BC. During part of his career in Kenora, he was the program director for rural and family medicine at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine teaching local medical students and residents.

Dr Hammet FamilyHis combined work experience has provided Dr. Hammett with unique insights around the value of performing locums and working in rural communities. He says, “for new to practice – working in rural communities is a way to accelerate and broaden your skills and experience. It sets you up for being a great doctor and what you learn will continue to add value to your career and enhance the care you provide your patients. The learning curve can be steep, but it’s also interesting, challenging and never boring.”

Dr-Hammet-in-water-(1).pngWhile in Kenora, Dr. Hammett regularly took locums and conducted site visits in BC communities, such as Powell River, Squamish, Revelstoke, Salmon Arm and  Fernie. Dr. Hammett states, “It’s great to learn what colleagues in other places do – we all face the same challenges. The knowledge transfer by taking locums has been extremely valuable to my career.”

Regularly doing locums allowed Dr. Hammett and his family to really explore so many communities and source out the ones that they would eventually consider living in. Fernie was a favourite of his wife and their four children. Dr. Hammett says, “It’s quite a feat to have four children ages of 10,12,14 and 16 all agree to moving to a new place and be excited about it.”

Dr. Hammett and his family are still exploring Fernie and all it has to offer noting, “BC has it made for attracting physicians to rural communities. There’s so much beauty all around us. The mountains, lakes, bike and hiking trails. For my children, there are ten times more things to do and enjoy here. There’s also a thriving arts community, which is very important to our family.”

Dr. Hammett’s last words on performing locums, “For me, doing a locum is almost like going on a vacation. You meet new people, taste new food and experience new things from a different work environment to new scenes and activities. You extend and enhance your skills, and you usually walk away with some great stories. Like me, you may discover new found energy for your work.”

Locum physicians like Dr. Hammett practise a full scope of medicine in a supported environment - while enjoying competitive compensation, flexible hours and the rewarding work/life balance of rural practice.

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