For new graduate Dr. Janice Lui, Calgary Foothills Primary Care Network’s decision to start the New Grad Program could not have come at a better time. Launched in July 2013, the program exposes new family medicine graduates to different clinics, while providing mentoring support. It also expands access to primary care services because the new graduates see member physicians’ patients, including those who call for same-day appointments. The new graduates say treating another doctor’s patients is a wonderful experience.

1. nurturing new graduates

“You get to see what a physician has done previously to treat a patient and how they have managed things,” Dr. Lui says. The 7 new graduates on the program say they were able to focus more on medicine, because they weren’t out looking for their next locum job.

Dr. Lui says she appreciated the mentoring support of Calgary Foothills PCN family physicians, including Dr. Ramninder Dhillon at Riley Park Primary Care Centre. Dr. Dhillon, for her part, says she also benefited from the sharing of ideas and the process of learning from each other.

2. benefit to patients

Dr. Dhillon says patients in participating clinics were able to book more timely appointments because of the program. “For patients, there is something to be said for having access to someone who is new from residency,” she says. “Medicine changes so quickly, with new research and new medications. Having a new hungry physician looking into your problems can make all the difference in the world.”

Dr. Lui says she feels more confident about her abilities after a year on the program. “It has been a learning curve, but I certainly feel ready to go out and practice in a clinic,” she says.