Dr. Nattana Dixon-Warren wears many hats including KBRH Senior Medical Director, Primary Care Physician in Salmo, and KBRH hospitalist. She shares her experiences while keeping an eye on the weather and the snow conditions at Red Mountain in Rossland, where she lives with her family. She wanted a balanced lifestyle and she got it.
Although Dr. Dixon-Warren didn’t get into medicine on her first try, she continued her studies in premedical training, biochemistry, environmental toxicology and English literature, later graduating from UBC medical school. She and her husband, ready for a move, put a list of career options on their fridge in their Ontario home. They chose KB over places like Churchill, Manitoba.
Dr Dixon-Warren and a colleague set up their family practice at the Salmo Wellness Centre, established with help from the town, the regional government, and the Health Authority, filling a long-time community void.
“I’ve always enjoyed the variety of longitudinal care. It is unbelievably satisfying,” said Dr. Dixon-Warren about her role as a family doctor.
The longer she stayed, the more roles she took on.
'Nimbleness’ needed for today’s services
She describes the four bundles of family medicine as running a clinic, delivering babies, helping out with hospital/facility services, and using special skills in the community. It’s not as simple as it used to be, but KB’s collaborative and collective teamwork across a complex system and service delivery impressed her. The model is one of its biggest strengths and played a major role in Dr. Dixon-Warren coming, staying, and expanding her roles.
“There has to be a nimbleness to the way services are developed,” she adds, using the COVID crisis as an example. “A respiratory assessment clinic was needed here, which involved setting up, running, staffing and planning.”
They did just that; another example of KB medical services in motion.
Blending family and work
Having grown up in a large family with professional parents, one being a doctor, she learned first-hand about the accommodation required by family to make a medical professional’s work life possible. It asks everyone to be flexible, so the community benefits. Her family, including four children, accepted this lifestyle and she looks back at a busy 20 years as ‘fun and happy’. They took advantage of all KB offers: sports, arts, fitness, outdoors, and nearby urban culture. Her husband, a teacher at the time of their move, later switched to ski instructing, running a guest cabin, and domestic roles. They wanted to move to be closer to my family, who live at the coast, and have access to skiing. The work-life balance was struck.
“KB is quite family oriented,” she adds “What’s important to me is that family life is supported throughout this journey.”
In true Kootenay style she blends activities into her daily routine, doing a 1950s military fitness program, yoga with her daughter via Zoom, and walk and talk meetings, to take indoor tasks outdoors.
“I’m happy the offerings here make for a sustainable lifestyle.”
Taking the lead
Not only is Dr. Dixon-Warren KB's Senior Medical Director, a family doctor to the residents of Salmo, and a KBRH hospitalist, she's also Assistant Clinical professor for UBC medical program and serves as admin lead for distributed post graduate medical education. She is instrumental in helping drive the region’s medical education programs.
In her role as KB’s Senior Medical Director, Dr. Dixon-Warren strives to ensure resources are planned for and distributed as needed throughout the region. She describes the job as a resource for chiefs of staff across the region, working to plan and recruit the resources needed to ensure nodes of acute care are functioning, supporting community service delivery, and that the region's specialty care centre is strong enough to do its job. It’s about keeping it all working smoothly and efficiently.
“The discipline needs to keep an eye on the ball and ensure everyone is cared for. It’s our social contract.”
Her reach is broad, her jobs varied, her vision expansive, but that’s how she likes it!
Dr Nattana Dixon-Warren
BSc, PBDip, MD, FCCFP
KB Senior Medical Director
Primary Care Physician- Salmo Wellness Centre
Member of KBRH Hospitalist Group
If you want to learn more about living and working as a physician in Kootenay Boundary, please get in touch with Sylvain Turgeon, Head of the KB Doctors Recruitment Team.
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Video Health Choices - Dr. Nattana Dixon-Warren