This is a story that starts in the prairie, drifts in and out of Zimbabwe, includes sky diving and a strong desire to make the world a better place. All in one blog – all from one client hero! Are you kidding me? YOLO has nothing on Amber Grunow. It is also a tale of pursuing your dreams while also living your life and accepting some of the hardships that come with that philosophy. Priorities and life circumstances are different for everyone but finding time to put what we value most into our lives is the key.
Read more and see how Amber “just does it”.
Why did you choose to become a Doctor?
When I was in university completing my degree in physiology, I worked in a research lab as part of my honours project and was studying cystic fibrosis. The physiology fascinated me and I really enjoyed studying it. But when it came down to it I felt like something was missing when I was sitting in a lab all day and I identified that something to be human interaction. Hence the decision to pursue medicine. Initially I was still very attached to my research and had intentions of pursuing Paediatric Respirology and work clinically with children who have cystic fibrosis. I soon realized that was incredibly specialized and there was so much more I appreciated about medicine, which has led me to rural generalism.
Why have you chosen to return to Saskatchewan after completing your medical residency in BC?
I grew up in Saskatoon and absolutely love the city. I chose BC for residency as a chance to explore something different, live somewhere else and kind of test my skill after having completed the majority of my training in Saskatchewan. That being said, I have always had intentions of returning to the province. As of July 1, I will be living in Saskatoon and doing locum work in the northern communities with the goal of relocating to the north eventually.
Did you experience anything in particular during your medical residency that surprised you?
Well not medically related but I met my boyfriend in Fort St John during my residency. His family lives in Martensville which is super convenient… meant to be even? Needless to say, when I left Saskatchewan two years ago I didn’t think I’d be bringing someone home with me. Most of my family is in Saskatchewan, many great friendships exist here, and there’s something about the wide-open sky and prairie sunsets that draws you back.
What are you looking forward to the most about finishing your medical residency?
Moving home! Fort St John has been a great place to complete residency and I’ve met some great people and created some lasting relationships but I really do miss home and am looking so forward to returning. I am starting my career by doing locums in northern Saskatchewan so I am also really looking forward to spending summer in the forest and on the lake. I am also looking forward to having some independence in my scheduling (to an extent) and not studying for exams or completing research projects.
What will you miss the most about Fort St. John?
I will miss the clinic that I work in for sure. My family practice preceptor has been such a great mentor and I’ve had so much fun working with him. He has treated me as a colleague rather than an inferior, which has helped a lot with the development of my confidence. All of the doctors in the clinic are also so knowledgeable and so willing to teach. Most days I’m the only learner in the clinic so if anyone has anything interesting they will always grab me. The office staff are so friendly and so helpful, there isn’t a day in the clinic that I don’t enjoy. The bar has been set high and it will be hard to compete with this crew.
What was your experience like travelling to Zimbabwe as a Doctor?
This was my second international trip as a learner and it’s always a mixed experience. Working in a third world country as a medical personnel is always difficult; resources are limited, there are language and cultural barriers, exposure to unfamiliar tropical diseases and of course the biggest challenge of capacity building and sustainable change. The experience brought a lot of reflection about perceptions of illness, death and dying, futility in developed vs. undeveloped countries, resource allocation, and the value of developing and maintaining international relationships in capacity building. Zimbabwe when you are not working as a doctor is an amazing country to explore. I am so lucky to have experienced the heat, the beautiful lush greenery, the amazingly friendly people, learning basic shona, partaking in a traditional sadza meal, getting soaked by the “mist” at Victoria Falls, jumping into a gorge housing the Zambezi river and hanging out with the elephants in Chobe National Park.
What is your favourite hobby?
Outside. I like to be outside and do things outside. Hiking tops the list of favourite activities and I try to do as much as I can during the summer. I spend a lot of time camping and fishing on weekends off as well.
What is your favourite quote?
“The oceans of Saskatchewan await you!” – Connor Hewson. Bit of an inside joke…
What is your top money frustration?
In two weeks I will be self employed and expected to run my own business and manage finances. I really have zero experience and no idea what I am doing in that regard.
Money and I get along like:
Summertime in Saskatchewan. Always waiting for it to come, watching it slip away so quickly and wishing for more. Being a student for the last 10 years (post secondary) has not been easy from a financial perspective. Like the time in Fort St John that I had to move out of my apartment because I couldn’t pay for the rent. That being said, I wouldn’t consider myself frugal either and probably could have sacrificed fun for savings throughout school.
Unlike your last client hero, I definitely did not make it through school debt-free. It’s been a long haul and I have no regrets for enjoying my time along the way. I enjoy spending money on experiences, doing fun things, going to fun places and making memories with the important people in my life.
My proudest money moment:
When I started working with a Certified Financial Planner and started to understand the financial world.
Financial security to me means…
Paying off debt while skydiving in Switzerland or hiking in the Rockies.
What is your favourite splurge?
Splurging on travelling is my favourite.
If you could ask a financial planner any question, what would it be?
Since working with one my question list is slowly diminishing. One thing I am wondering is if in a fairly new relationship, when would you consider adding this person as a shareholder to your professional corporation? What is the risk?
Watch for our next blog where TCM’s friend and legal expert Bob Braun will provide a response to Amber’s question. And if you are anything like us between then and now we just might be checking out some seat sales and creating an adventure. Amber seems to have that effect on us.