With almost every jurisdiction in Canada screaming for medical staff, it seems physicians are some of the only professionals out there who have ultimate choice in where they work and live. So what makes one choose Saint John, NB? Ask Sasha Sealy, who came to the area as a second year Family Medicine Resident at the Saint John Regional Hospital.
Raised in a rural town in Northern Ontario, Sasha was used to small-town values and close family ties. She moved to Saint John with her family – an intimidating change for someone not used to city life – and completed a Science degree at the Saint John campus of the University of New Brunswick. There she met her future husband Jim, but she wasn’t ready to settle down just yet. Soon after she was off to Memorial University for medical school and her future as a Family Doctor.
Until recently the typical ending to a story like Sasha’s is that the budding young doctor with a world of choices at her feet moves west to richer pastures. She would miss her family but could not pass up the opportunities offered by other provinces and communities. Thankfully that typical story ending is becoming a thing of the past, and Sasha is part of a growing movement of young and enterprising souls who choose to live their lives in Saint John, a supportive community with strong values and big dreams.
“Family and friends would rank as number one, two and three for me!” says Sasha when asked about her personal priorities. “I’ve met the best group of friends ever here. Our relationships are very strong – I have a very diverse group of friends who all have different interests and endeavours, but we all have strong values around maintaining our friendship.”
Sasha’s lifestyle in Saint John is just as diverse as her friends. She and Jim live in Quispamsis, a suburban and extremely family-oriented part of the community. “It feels like we live in a small town but still have easy access to the city.” she explains. A significant portion of Jim’s family all live in the same neighbourhood, so when it comes time for them to have a family Sasha and Jim are confident they’ll have the support they’ll need. They travel frequently to neighbouring Quebec, Maine or the other Maritime provinces for fun and a change of scenery. They both alpine ski, most often at nearby Poley Mountain a mere forty-five minute drive away, and enjoy evenings out in the city at their favourite restaurants.
Between her family, active social life and finishing her education Sasha has still managed to carve out time to volunteer with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. She is now the Family Medicine Site Director for the Saint John Family Medicine Residency Training Program with Saint John Regional Hospital.
When asked how she fits it all in, she smiles a thoughtful smile and replies, “There’s just so much opportunity here. I really feel like you can have it all. The time that I don’t spend in a long commute I can spend with my family or just playing. You can have your dream here!”
Originally published: January 2009, update February 2017