Every evening after dusk gives way, the night sky blankets Petrolia, Ontario. And a patchwork of stars stand out against the vast darkness, unimpeded by the glow of city lights.
This striking scene is a nightly reminder to Dr. Bridgette Gerson, MD’14, a second-year family medicine resident. She is exactly where she belongs.
“I like the fresh air and being able to see the stars at night,” she explained. “To me, smaller communities have a down-to-earth appeal. I like the quality and pace of life here.”
Perhaps unexpectedly, Dr. Gerson hails from Whitby, Ontario – a quintessentially suburban town in the GTA.
She completed her undergraduate degree at McGill University, with a study year at the University of Alberta. A 2014 medical graduate of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, she continued at the School in the rural family medicine residency program.
The specialty gives her an opportunity to deliver a wide range of care to patients of many different ages and backgrounds. “I’m a big supporter of the ‘womb to tomb’ idea in family medicine,” she explained.
Working with a family health team in Petrolia, Dr. Gerson is gaining valuable experience in practising community medicine. She speaks highly of the supportive, interprofessional learning environment she has been exposed to as a Schulich Medicine resident.
Being able to work one-on-one with clinicians and other health care professionals is invaluable to the enthusiastic resident. “The teachers I’ve encountered have been the highlight of my career up to this point,” she said.
The stars may have aligned academically, but Dr. Gerson’s other major source of inspiration are her patients and the relationships she is able to build with them.
“I’ve had a number of heartfelt experiences with patients who have opened my eyes and encouraged my growth as a young doctor,” she explained. “Not only are they the best instructors, but their compassion and seemingly endless patience is remarkable.”
She also appreciates the gratitude, understanding and humour patients add to her work. “Some of the life stories I hear just blow me away,” she said. “They can make me feel sick or cry or leave me awestruck. It is truly amazing how resilient people are.”