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St. Joseph's Health Centre Toronto

Sharing in patients’ successes motivates Dr. Ellen Thompson, chief resident

Dr. Ellen ThompsonEach year, St. Joseph’s Health Centre welcomes new chief residents (CRs) to guide the experience we offer to incoming medical students. The CR role honours the skills and abilities of stand-out residents and places them in a position to help formally train and mentor the next generation of students.

For 2019-20, St. Joseph’s welcomed four new CRs in July: Dr. David Anderson and Dr. Ellen Ann Thompson for Family Medicine; Dr. Marisa Leon-Carlyle for Psychiatry; and Dr. Stephanie Tung for Surgery.

We are sharing their stories over the month as they move into this important role. Dr. Ellen Thompson tells us what inspired a career in medicine, what she’s looking forward to in the coming year, and what she values about working at St. Joseph’s.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in medicine and what keeps you inspired?
Medicine seemed like the perfect combination of my love for science and my love for people. I think one of the most gratifying and simultaneously inspiring opportunities is being a part of our patients’ lives. I am humbled when I have the chance to share in my patients’ struggles, and also in their success. I think seeing their incredible strength, particularly those who are up against tremendous barriers, pushes me to continue to learn, and to face any struggles in my own life.

How will this role allow you to mentor and train this cohort of residents?
Being a chief resident puts me in a position to help my colleagues to improve their learning, and simultaneously maintaining a life-work balance. I believe my position is helpful because I have intimate knowledge of barriers to learning and to self-improvement, as I am also up against them every day. I can act as an advocate for those that I care about, and indirectly impact the quality of patient care.

What drew you to St. Joseph’s for your residency?
I started at St. Joseph’s last year. It is an amazingly supportive community hospital, with accessible specialist care. The ongoing cooperation between allied health-care providers and physicians from different specialties sets us apart. The patient population is unique, and pushes us as providers to think outside the box. The waterfront location and amazing cafeteria food are added bonuses!

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