During Family Doctor Week, Nov. 7 to 12, the achievements and contributions of thousands of family physicians across Canada are recognized and celebrated. St. Joseph’s Health Care London acknowledges and salutes all family doctors across the organization for their commitment to high-quality care and wellbeing for patients and families.
Among them is Dr. Dr. Gordon Dickie, who recently celebrated 45 years of dedicated service at St. Joseph’s. Dr. Dickie began his career as a physician in 1968 when he graduated from the University of Aberdeen. He spent three years in postgraduate training in the United Kingdom before setting his sights on Canada to practice abroad. Here is his story:
As a child of parents who were both in the medical profession, Dr. Gordon Dickie knew from a young age that he too would be a doctor.
“My parents were both doctors – taking care of patients and administering their own medications. In our small county there was no pharmacy and patients would come to our house for care. Being in that environment – I think I fell into a medical career without even knowing it,” jokes Dr. Dickie.
Dr. Dickie was just 26 years old when he was recruited by Dr. Ian McWhinney in London, Ontario in 1971 and moved his family to Canada to begin a 35-year career at St. Joseph’s Family Medical and Dental Centre (FMDC).
“I was excited about the health care system in Canada, and with my father’s blessing, I was eager to carve a new path for myself as a physician. I wasn’t sure how things would work out, but I was hoping to stay at least two years.”.
What appealed to Dr. Dickie was that family doctors in Canada could do a wide range of services in the hospital setting as well as in the community – working with patients of all ages and all medical conditions. “I also enjoyed obstetrics and delivering babies. It was when I delivered my first baby as a young physician that felt like I had finally become a doctor.”
Two years would soon turn into a 35-year career, exemplified by commitment, dedication and compassion.
Over the years, Dr. Dickie’s work also encompassed research, teaching and administration in the Department of Medicine at Western University. He also served as president of Ontario College of Family Physicians – receiving an award of excellence.
After retiring from St. Joseph’s FMDC in 2006, Dr. Dickie became the lead physician for the Transitional Care Unit at Parkwood Institute. Today, he works casually with patients in musculoskeletal rehabilitation at Parkwood Institute and in the Palliative Care Unit at London Health Sciences Centre’s University Hospital.
As Dr. Dickie reflects on more than four decades of service at St. Joseph’s, this important week gives everyone a chance to remember and appreciate the invaluable roles family doctors play within our communities and health care system.
“It’s turned out to be a very rewarding career,” smiles Dr. Dickie.