On a Friday evening after five, there is a steady ebb and flow of patients at the Stettler Medical Clinic on Main Street, a reflection of the much-needed arrival of Dr. Marvin Bailey in town.
Coming to Canada and “making the big move” has been time consuming but very worth it, according to Bailey.
“There’s a lot of paperwork, tests, and then a final exam of five hours, which is very expensive and tough,” said Bailey. “It is the same exam that the medical students here write as their final exam.”
Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Bailey attended the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, where he completed his medical degree.
After graduating from medical school, Bailey worked for the government of South Africa for three years as an intern at the Kalafong Hospital in Pretoria.
“It’s a pretty large government hospital with 1,000 beds,” said Bailey. “That’s where I went through with all the rotations and completed the mandatory government internship, before becoming a medical officer.”
Thereafter, Bailey worked in different areas of medicine, before starting private practice as an emergency medicine doctor in the town of Mpumalanga, something similar to what he hoped to do in Canada.
“I managed the hospital single-handedly along with five to six nurses,” said Bailey. “With the drainage area of the hospital almost 200,000 it was quite an experience as I was the only doctor-on-call.”
Looking back, Bailey thinks it was one of the most challenging, as well as exciting phases of his career, which helped him to gain a lot of experience.
“It was the bridge before coming to Canada,” said Bailey.
In October 2014, when Bailey visited Stettler for the first time for two weeks, he fell in love with the town.
“The very minute my fiancée Leanne Starke and I arrived in Stettler, we received a very warm welcome from the town,” said Bailey. “The people were so accommodating of all our needs and had gone through so much effort just to show us around and help us to learn about the community.”
Being touched and overwhelmed by the first visit helped Bailey choose Stettler over any other town in Canada.
“The doctors in Stettler are excellent medical professionals,” said Bailey. “Although some of the doctors are overworked because of the volume of patients’ needs, they are so dedicated to what they do and display a rare example of professionalism.”
Moving forward, Bailey thinks that it is important to distribute the “workload” more “evenly and efficiently”.
“We are looking into getting more doctors, to expand our team, so that we can provide adequate care for all our patients in Stettler.”