Southern Medical Program
Faculty of Medicine
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
Doctor of Medicine (in progress)
BSc (Hons), UBC Vancouver
“The preceptors I’ve worked with have been keen to teach me about their methods of practice, and willing to spend extra time helping me learn.”
Med student Laura Tamblyn didn’t find her career path diving in the Caribbean Sea. She found it in her backyard—the Okanagan—and now trains in Vernon
THE PATH TO MEDICINE for Laura Tamblyn didn’t follow the traditional route. Graduating with a science degree from UBC Vancouver, she moved to opposite ends of the continent to pursue work as a dive instructor in the Caribbean.
Despite the obvious lifestyle appeal, Tamblyn often found herself dreaming of a more fulfilling career.
With a plan set in motion, she returned to Canada to begin the competitive application process to the MD Undergraduate Program.
“Medicine wasn’t on my radar initially, so I chose courses that were of the most interest to me, and pursued activities outside of school that weren’t medically related,” says Tamblyn. “It was a challenging road that taught me the value of dedication and perseverance when reaching for my dreams.”
Tamblyn, a third-year student with the Southern Medical Program (SMP), is currently training at Vernon Jubilee Hospital and local family practice clinics as part of the Integrated Community Clerkship program.
“The Okanagan Valley is one of the most beautiful spots I’ve ever been, and the choice to study medicine here was an easy one,” she says. “I am grateful for the opportunity to study so close to my hometown, where I have a base of support that I can draw on when needed.”
FINDING THE RIGHT LIFE BALANCE
The demands of UBC’s medical curriculum are constant. The analogy of drinking water from a fire hose is a description maybe referenced a little too often. But it’s also why life outside of medical school is stressed as an important element of success, both as a student and later as a practicing physician.
“I am truly passionate about living a balanced life, which includes a demanding study schedule tempered with an abundance of healthy food, a variety of sports, and a daily yoga practice,” says Tamblyn.
With the help of Dr. Harry Miller, SMP Course Director, Tamblyn helped introduce mindfulness to her classmates through a self-directed yoga project.
“I was given the resources and time to conduct a weekly yoga class, which incorporated breath and posture into a moving meditation,” she says. “I found this extremely rewarding, and a good way for me to stay motivated within my own practice.”
SMALLER CENTRES, GREATER LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
For many SMP students who are not from Kelowna, it can be very overwhelming to uproot everything and start fresh in a different city, campus and hospital.
However, Tamblyn says, “The staff here ensures that we have all of the resources needed to make that transition a successful one. Each of the preceptors I’ve worked with have been keen to teach me about their methods of practice, and willing to spend extra time helping me learn.
“Having the chance to complete my third year in Vernon has provided me with unbelievable experiences that wouldn’t have been possible in the bigger centres,” she says.
“It would be a dream to complete family medicine residency training at UBC and set up practice in an underserved community here in the Okanagan.”