Coming all the way from Belfast in Northern Ireland, Dr. John McConnell has joined the team of physicians at Sylvan Medical Center.
McConnell graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 2005, and has been a general practitioner for nine years.
“There are many good things about Ireland, but Canada offers me a challenge different from the usual progression of what a general practitioner is,” he said. “In Canada I get to do some hospital work as well as my clinic work which isn’t as common back home.”
McConnell is settling well into his new environment, and appreciates the friendly atmosphere and support he receives from his colleagues.
“The staff are very friendly and easy to get along with. I kind of feel like I’ve been here a long time,” he said. “It’s a nice atmosphere in this office.”
McConnell said he hopes to establish a solid list of patients, with the goal of helping people and making a difference in the community.
“Building relationships with the patients is the main thing,” he said. “It’s nice for patients to go to the same doctor instead of going to walk-in clinics, that’s the big thing.”
McConnell takes a thorough approach to getting to know his patients and starts out by getting to know their social backgrounds — not just their medical needs.
“I find out what they do, what their family is like, what interests them and then go into the medical details after that,” he said. “Then I can see how their medical issues impact their lives.”
He added, “If you show interest in patients you can build trust with them.”
When McConnell isn’t playing doctor at work, he can be found walking along the lake or on a bicycle.
“Sylvan Lake is picturesque, it’s nice to walk along the lake and a nice place to cycle,” he said. “Compared to where I was, there are more things happening here and more social things to do.”