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Home / Education/ Information for Family Medicine Residents/ Residents Committee Feature Series - Dr Corey Bricks

Residents Committee Feature Series

Toronto-based family physician Dr. Corey Bricks sat down with our residents committee to talk about what inspired him to pursue family medicine, his practice experiences working as a locum and in a family health team, and his advice for residents.

Q&A with Dr.Corey Bricks

Why did you choose family medicine? What is the best part of your practice?

I was interested in a practice where every day would be different and I would see a variety of presentations and patients. I also wanted an opportunity to build long-term relationships with my patients and really feel that I was providing good continuity of care.

The best aspect of my practice is the patients! I learn something new every day -- not only about different clinical approaches, but also about their lives and experiences, which I hope allows me to get connect with them on a deeper level.

What does a typical week of clinical duties involve?

No week is ever the same! I work in a clinic-based practice for eight half days per week, with an additional half day dedicated to academic, administrative and educational matters. Some weeks, I also cover the palliative care unit at a local hospital, where I care for inpatients and admit new patients to the unit. I also travel to rural areas and remote northern communities several times a year to work in emergency departments. I enjoy the variety and I like using a different subset of my skills that I don't always get to use in a clinic.

Why did you choose your particular practice location and type of clinical duties?

After residency, I locumed for a while. But in the back of my mind, I knew that I wanted to establish a practice of my own, with patients who identified me as their primary care provider. Working in a family health team lends itself well to collaboration - whether with other doctors, nurses, or allied health professionals - which ultimately provides the best care for our patients.

What has been your journey from residency to now? Did you do any locums or enhanced skills/additional training?

I did not complete any enhanced skills or additional training; however, I did complete a few courses after residency including ATLS, ACLS and the Casted-EM course. I first locumed in an office-based urban practice, followed by a few rural locums where I practiced the full spectrum of family medicine: inpatient, emergency department and clinic based work.

What are the most challenging aspects of your practice?

After residency, there was a lot more administrative work than I had anticipated. For example, locuming took a lot of work in terms of setting up each placement, ensuring that there were no conflicts with other commitments and completing the credentialing process for certain hospitals. No one prepares you for that! More generally, both medicine and the dynamic of the patient-physician relationship are constantly evolving; patients have specific expectations of their healthcare providers, and providers have an interest in optimizing patient health and promoting well-being. These goals don't always line up, which can be challenging, but it's all about finding the right way to communicate with each patient and ultimately find common ground. When you get there, it can make clinical practice quite rewarding.

What is your work-life balance like, and how do you achieve it?

At the end of residency, I was voted by my peers as the "person most likely to bike between rural locums." I bike as much as possible, which helps clear my head and energizes me before a long day of work. I also try to schedule time for family and friends well in advance so that other responsibilities or commitments don't get in the way. This goes for travel too. I try to always have a vacation or trip lined up for the future so that I can look forward to something on even the most challenging days.

Do you have any advice for residents finishing their training?

Just start! You are never going to know everything, so when July 1 comes around, just dive in and use your networks who will always provide the best support -- whether residents, colleagues, mentors, friends and family.

About the Story Series

Read our interviews with family physicians in their earlier years of practice as they discuss why they chose the profession, a typical week in practice, advice for new grads, and more.

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