Heather McFadgen

March 2022

Why did you choose a career in general surgery?
I came to medicine from a career as an RN on an internal medicine floor and had assumed that that’s what I would want to do as a physician. But as the first year and a half of med school went by, I realized I was missing the physical and technical elements of caring for patients. I did an observership with Dr Walsh – one of the HPB transplant surgeons here at Dal and actually the current president of CAGS – and I just loved being in the OR. I remember he described general surgery as “the internal medicine of surgery” and that really resonated with me and is something that I’ve found to be true in my own clinical experience as a gen surg resident. We really can take care of anyone, and I’m proud of that.

What are you research or academic interests?
I’m interested in health disparities relating to access to appropriate care, particularly as it pertains to cancer.

Do you have any call rituals?
If an average general surgery call shift was calm enough to have a ritual than maybe I would. Mostly I think we’re all just sprinting form task to task, patient to patient, OR to OR for 24+ hours so I guess the ritual is just to make it to the other side relatively unscathed.

What do you do for fun?
We have a really great restaurant and bar scene in Halifax, and I cherish any time I get to catch up with my friends and family over a meal or a drink. If you can throw in some live music (which we also have plenty of in Hali) than I’m really on cloud 9. We are also fortunate in Halifax to be surrounded by some beautiful and easy-to-get-to outdoor spaces, so my partner and I take advantage of that with our dog, Ripple.

What are your career goals?
I’m currently in the process of applying for fellowships and am hoping to be a colorectal surgeon. My ultimate goal is to return home to Nova Scotia, to serve the people of the Maritimes and to be involved with training future general surgery residents.