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Dr. Joan Chan

A headshot of Dr. Joan Chan

The start of a new year often sets the stage for what’s possible in the year to come. For Dr. Joan Chan, a family doctor in Guelph, there is immense joy that stems from providing care to her patients. From forming human-to-human connections, bearing witness to their stories and experiences, and being a source of compassion, empathy and validation for patients. Prioritizing what brings her joy and finding ways to delegate or decline other parts of the job (e.g., paperwork and tasks downloaded by specialists) keeps family medicine joyful and sustainable for her.  

Dr. Chan is certain that in order for family physicians to provide the best care for their patients, they themselves need to be well. To do this, she believes that focusing on how we treat ourselves and each other and recognizing that we are all humans, with limits, is key.   

“Give yourself permission not to take everything on and remember that you are not solely responsible for the health of your patients.”

For many reasons, the job of family physicians across the province has become more difficult, especially as the healthcare system is dealing with gaps and more work is being downloaded on family doctors who regularly have to increase their scope of practice to meet the needs of their patients. 

Dr. Chan encourages physicians to focus on the parts of the role that matters most to them.  

“It can be scary, but when you start to realize that the expectations set upon family doctors is too high and instead ask yourself, ‘what does family medicine mean to me and how do I want to practice it?’, it can be so liberating.”