Princeton’s newest family doctor is living out a childhood ambition.
“I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, probably from the age of seven or eight. It’s probably because I admired my family doctor and decided that’s what I wanted to do.”
Dr. Tim VanDerheide moved to Princeton last month with his wife Krystal and ten-month-old son Theo, after working for two years in Chetwynd, a small community in BC’s north.
“The weather is nice and you have great access to fruit,” he grinned, when asked about his first impressions of the community.
Krystal VanDerheide holds a degree in public administration and community planning, and is looking for work here in her field. The couple has purchased a 43-acre farm on Highway 3 east of town, and in the next year VanDerheide wants to try his hand at hobby ranching.
As his own farm experience extends only to working on a dairy farm as a youngster, he said: “I’m going to need some advice…we’ll see how it goes.”
Princeton General Hospital is a bit larger than what VanDerheide is used to.
“Chetwynd Hosptial has five beds and Princeton has six beds so I guess you could say its 20 per cent larger.”
VanDerheide said he became interested in working in Princeton because of his friendship with Dr. Ella Munro – they did their residencies together in Prince George – and he likes the idea of practicing in a small community that offers a broad scope of practice.
“I think all medicine is exciting but you don’t want to sit in the office from nine to five, Monday to Friday.”
Working in Princeton allows VanDerheide a daily routine that includes seeing clinic patients, treating in-patients, making nursing home rounds and being on call for the emergency room in 24-72 hour shifts.
“I can do more here. In a bigger place like Penticton I probably would not get to do emergency room work.”
VanDerheide said Princeton is fortunate that Interior Health offers community support programs in town such as social work and physiotherapy, and he believes there are opportunities for even more medical services to be provided locally.
“We would like to keep people in the community for their medical management rather than send them somewhere else.”
Born and raised in Chilliwack, VanDerhiede studied medicine in California and said it’s nice to now live closer to his family. He described people in Princeton as being “very friendly…definitely more friendly that people in bigger cities.”
And he said he is impressed with the town’s number of community groups and associations. “I was pleasantly surprised at the community engagement. You even have an arts council. How many communities of this size have an arts council?”
VanDerheide enjoys travelling and skiing, and spending time with his family but admitted his primary passion is work.
He smiled when asked what he likes to do most when he is not working.
“When I’m not working I like to work, or think about work.”