Vancouver Career Spotlight: Family Physician

Vancouver Career Spotlight is an interview-style blog series that features the amazing professionals that live and work in the Greater Vancouver area. Our vision is to showcase the many career opportunities that exist in Vancouver and provide inspiration to the future generation of workers and career changers.

Lisa is a Resident Physician working in Vancouver.  She completed her Doctor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and specializes in Family Medicine.


Why did you choose this career path?

I chose to become a family doctor because it allows me to connect with people from all walks of life and build longitudinal relationships with them.  It is challenging, diverse, rewarding and never boring!

What are your main responsibilities?

A resident physician is a doctor who has graduated from medical school and is currently completing their training in a specialty of their choice. They usually rotate through different specialty services in the hospital and community clinics — this includes family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, etc. A patient encounter usually involves talking to the patient and gathering a history of their presenting concern, examining the patient, diagnosing them, and ordering tests, giving treatment, or doing a referral.

What are the opportunities for career growth and advancement? 

Family medicine is unique in that there are many opportunities for growth and change throughout one’s career.  For example, you can work in a clinic or in a hospital, deliver babies or work with seniors, see sports injuries or manage patients with addictions, and the list goes on.

What kind of person would like this career? 

A person who would enjoy being a doctor should also enjoy working with people. They should also like the idea of continuous lifelong learning.

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What is a common misconception people have about your career field? 

A common misconception is that family physicians only see coughs and colds, but there is a lot more variety than that!

What school subjects would a person in this career typically excel in?

In high school, it would be important to pay attention in your Biology, English, and Math classes.  In university, Biology, Physiology, Anatomy, Chemistry and Biochemistry are examples of classes that would be useful to do well in prior to medical school. However, medical schools vary in which courses are required. Check out the specific requirements for each medical school.

What type of education would you typically need to work in this career? 

Getting into medical school is competitive.  After you complete high school, you usually do at least three to four years of undergraduate courses.  You would also need to take the MCAT exam, apply to medical school, and go through an interview process.  Medical school itself takes three to four years. You then apply to residency and complete two to five years of residency (the duration depends on the specialization). For family medicine, residency is 2 years.

What are the best programs to get this education?

The University of British Columbia is the only university with a medical school in British Columbia. They have 4 campuses – Vancouver, Kelowna, Victoria and Prince George. There are several other schools across Canada as well. 

What types of organizations would typically hire a doctor?

The main organizations who would hire a doctor include clinics and hospitals.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in becoming a doctor?

Try to talk to someone or shadow someone in the field you are interested in. The specialties within medicine are all unique.  Medical schools usually look for well-rounded people who have a variety of life experiences so non-academic endeavors are encouraged.

I hope you enjoyed this Career Spotlight interview about the family physician career track. Below are additional resources if you’re interested in researching this career further. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. If you’re interested in seeing if this career is right for you, send us a message here, and let’s help you find a career that aligns with your personality, interests, and goals.


More information about Family Physicians in BC:

WorkBC – General practitioners and family physicians (earnings, workforce statistics, related careers, etc.)

WorkBC – Specialist physicians

Education Programs (in the Greater Vancouver area):

University of British Columbia | Info Sessions

Admission: Requirements | Timelines | Statistics

Crossroads Career Audit Email Course

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