For the start of the new year, we interviewed Dr. Patricia Caddy, a PGY-2 Family Medicine Resident, on a variety of topics: her publication in the BCMJ, addiction medicine, practicing in her home town, and parenting in residency. Happy reading!
Your Resident Scholar Project on a quick-reference guide for prescribing buprenorphine/naloxone (suboxone) in the outpatient settings was published in the BCMJ. Congratulations! What inspired you to make this the focus of your project?
Firstly, thank you! I wanted to use the project as an opportunity to contribute something concrete and meaningful to my community as people continue to die of opioid overdose. I had attended workshops on opioid addiction and there was much talk about using Suboxone as a safer alternative to methadone, especially since no special licensure is needed to prescribe it. The latest BCCSU guidelines recommend it as first line, and yet many family doctors (including ourselves at first) seemed hesitant to use it in their practices. So my partner, Dr. Kesh Smith, and I, set out to make something that would help doctors feel more comfortable prescribing the drug, which will hopefully result in easier access to treatment for patients in BC.
You’ve expressed an interest in Addiction medicine as a whole, recently been accepted for a fellowship (BCCSU’s Addiction Medicine) at Vancouver Island, Victoria. Could you talk more about what drew you towards this focus, and what are your hopes and goals in regards to it in your future practice as a physician?
Addiction is a fascinating feature of human physiology. We see it everywhere… from alcohol to heroin, caffeine to cigarettes, smartphones to fentanyl. It is the hijacking of the very systems of the brain that give us feelings of joy, love, enlightenment, power– feelings that make it wonderful to be alive. Despite the stigma, the risk of pain, loss, and death, addiction takes ahold of people from all walks of life and often doesn’t let go. That’s as amazing as it is terrifying. If I can better understand the mechanics of that process, and then use that knowledge to bring some aid and compassion to people experiencing it, I would be honoured and excited to. Now, more than ever, I think more people need to take an interest in treating addiction.
You’re a family med Resident practicing in the town your grew up in—what has that been like for you?
A privilege mostly, an inconvenience sometimes, and hilarious often. I run into people in the grocery store, and I can’t remember if I know them from 8th grade jazz band or because I saw them for their pap smear last year. Awkward, awkward, awkward. I never know whether I should or shouldn’t say hi! But this program, in this city, was my top choice. I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to give back to the community that supported me and my family as I was growing up.
Lastly, you are currently on maternity leave, and the new mom life is certainly a big part of your resident story. How was the experience of balancing pregnancy and residency? Do you have any words of advice for those considering parenthood during residency (whether their own residency, or their partner’s)?
I was very fortunate to work with staff and preceptors in Nanaimo, Vancouver, and Port Alberni who helped me get the most out of my program during my pregnancy. I can’t thank them enough. They made the work doable, even fun. As for advice for people considering parenthood in residency… it really is great. The next best advice after “lean on your supports” was “don’t expect to get anything done.” Seriously. Even though it feels like all the medicine is falling out of your head and being replaced with formula-to-water ratios and diaper brands, give in to the un-productivity. The medicine will still be there, waiting for you, on the other side.