University of Alberta - General Pathology - Edmonton
- We are strong in all areas of laboratory medicine, and have a long history of departmental and faculty support for residency training.
- We offer a variety of training sites, including community hospitals, large referral hospitals and an urban private laboratory, providing residents with exposure to a wide variety of potential practice types. Rural hospitals are also available for electives and laboratory management training.
- There are strong, co-operative relationships between our program and other laboratory medicine residencies, fellowship programs and the excellent medical laboratory science program at U of A.
- Edmonton feels like a smaller city but it has everything a bigger city has.
- The city offers opportunities and amenities to get out and be active year-round.
- Edmonton punches above its weight in what we actually do and the expertise we have.
I’ve always thought I was a people person. Could I still be a general pathologist?
Although there is limited direct contact with patients, there is a great deal of interaction with a variety of clinicians outside the laboratory, as well as with physicians, PhDs and technical staff colleagues in the lab. The stereotypical image of the hermit-like pathologist who stays in his or her office and never talks to anyone is rapidly disappearing in today’s pathology practice.
Without the relationship with patients, how do you find satisfaction in your job?
We get satisfaction from the interactions we have with others and knowing that we are helping a clinician take the next step in diagnosing or treating a patient. You are very much a part of the team taking care of the patient—it just isn’t as obvious. This is becoming even more apparent in the era of precision medicine.
Is general pathology just “lab medicine lite”?
Quite the opposite. Although general pathology residents train in all areas of laboratory medicine, you are learning much more than just 25 per cent of each area. So in some ways, general pathology is the most intellectually demanding of all. But that same breadth and variety is what attracted many of us to the specialty and keeps our days exciting.
Do general pathologists only work in small rural sites?
Only if you count Edmonton, Victoria, etc. as small rural sites. The broad skill set of general pathology broadens the potential places where you could work. General pathologists also complete fellowships and other extra training, depending on their interests and what their site needs.
I’ve always planned on having a family in addition to a career. How well does general pathology accommodate this?
Compared with medicine as a whole, pretty easily. Working hours are relatively regular for pathologists and there is usually enough flexibility to deal with life’s other demands. After-hours call is variable in terms of how busy it is, but even during a busier call week, our families still see us.