It’s no secret: 99 family medicine residency positions remained vacant in Quebec. Nearly 90% of all medical residency positions in all fields unfilled in the province are in family medicine. This looks bad for Quebecers.

I am a family doctor, I am 42 years old and not a day goes by without me questioning my career choice. I’m not the only one, I’m convinced. If I leave the boat, a thousand patients will find themselves orphans tomorrow.

I had an enlightenment on what allows me to continue working in this jungle of the health system. Each patient also has this power. That of keeping your family doctor motivated.

Since the beginning of my medical practice, my colleagues and I have made every effort to ensure safe accessibility to our patients.

Who would want to be treated by an exhausted doctor?

My discovery will change lives. Nothing less. Here is.

My colleague and I both received two different letters.

My colleague’s made him want to retire tomorrow morning. The one I received brightened my week and gave me the desire to continue my work despite the obvious obstacles of our broken health system.

The general practitioner received a complaint from the College of Physicians because a patient had difficulty making an appointment with him. This accusation called into question his professionalism because a patient was unable to get an appointment to… refill his pills!

A slap in the face that meant: you are unprofessional because your patients are unable to make an appointment with you (in a world where pharmacists can easily help out in these situations. Not to mention that the doctor’s clinic in question offered easily accessible emergency services).

The government pushed this doctor to take on more patients… even though the pandemic had already exhausted him. The math is simple: A doctor who accepts more patients will have less room to see those already registered with them.

The letter I received was quite different. In my dovecote, I discovered a beautiful map. A patient I had treated a few weeks earlier expressed his gratitude to me sincerely. His few sentences touched me deeply. He said to me: thank you for being there for me.

I have the map on display in front of my window and glance at it from time to time. A little balm on difficult days.

My colleague deserves hundreds of cards like this for all his efforts and dedication. Instead of receiving an accusatory letter from the College of Physicians, he should have received a colorful card with butterflies and hearts to tell him that he was making a difference in the daily lives of a thousand patients.

Family medicine must be valued. Healthcare professionals are required to stay in the field as long as possible… what if every patient showed them a little appreciation with a kind word?

A simple piece of paper whose effect will be exponential and which will change lives.