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Getting to Know Our Working Group Members: Dr. Gurp Johal

Our working group consists of MSA members that are representative of the departments at BH. They meet monthly to get updates from Doctors of BC, connect with Site Admin, review projects, check in with our strategic priorities, and also hear how things are going in each department. Sign up for the Dr’s Lounge Digest.

Getting to Know Dr. Gurp Johal a working group member and Treasurer for the MSA

What does it mean to you and your department to be on the BH MSA working group?

I feel a lot more engaged personally with the hospital and the MSA. I enjoy the opportunity to bring information back to my department that we would not otherwise hear.

Why do you feel it’s important for medical staff to be involved with the MSA?

When I started as a locum and early staff in 2017, I attended only the quarterly MSA meetings. And I am glad I went (it was in person at that time). It was the one opportunity outside of the Doctors Lounge, that you get to interact with people that you don’t normally see on a daily basis. It’s always great to catch up with colleagues at non-work events, knowing people on a deeper level benefits the working relationship too.

Did someone ask you to join the MSA working group? If so, who?

Dr. Paul Johar approached me as he was looking to encourage more people from surgery to join. I was worried about not having enough time to commit initially but paul was quite persistent and explained what I would bring and contribute to the team. I really enjoy what I’m doing now with the MSA, on the working group, and as the Treasurer and it doesn’t feel like much of a time commitment anymore.

What’s your favourite MSA activity you’ve been to or been a part of?

My favourite activity was this year’s leadership retreat. We were asked to create an idea to pitch at the retreat and to compete against other ideas. It was pretty fun and it all happened quickly. Our group won!

I do miss in-person events though. There has been some loss in interactions and connection since we’ve gone virtual but it has been okay for administrative-level work.  Connecting virtually has been beneficial in some ways, and needed to get things done.

What do you enjoy the most about being a General Surgeon?

The reason I chose general surgery is that we work with usually the sickest patients. I gravitated towards seeing critically ill people with the goal of making people better.

It’s a surgical specialty as much as it is a medical specialty. There’s a lot of technical aspects and there’s a tonne of complex medical management that requires us to manage them non-operatively as well.

What’s going on in your department lately?

There have been a few surgical pauses from the pandemic that has caused a fair amount of stress early on. Wearing a tonne of PPE, so the efficiency to get patients in and out wasn’t ideal. Everything takes longer. There has been stress when the operating rooms stops. It’s okay for elective cases but for cancer cases, it causes additional stress.

And what is your department looking forward to in the next few months?

We’re excited at any opportunity to be in the Redevelopment plans. Our current bi-monthly meetings are committed to discussing redevelopment issues. It’s also been great to see how engaged people in our department have been. We are being asked really high-level questions about how we want rooms to be organized and it has been fantastic. Redevelopment is a hugely positive thing for us to look forward to, especially the new operating suites.

Let’s get personal…

Tell us something your colleagues may not know about you?

I’m certain that 100% of my colleagues, don’t know that I have a black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Although after having kids I lost a lot of my hobbies, I’m picking up new ones because of my kids.

I’m really trying to get into learning to play the guitar but it’s a challenge. I love country music and I want to learn the guitar to write my daughter a song.

What is your favourite way to decompress?

Do a task around the house. I love DIY projects. My wife laughs about this because I complain about being tired, but if I can accomplish a chore or a home project it helps me decompress.

I also use my Peloton a lot more lately as we have a challenge going on within the OR

What is your Newest/Oldest hobby?

My oldest hobby is racing gas-powered remote control cars during my teenage years. I started when I was in grade 7.

What does wellness mean to you?

Wellness to me means having a good degree of balance in my life. When I do a non-work-related activity it contributes to my general wellness and overall happiness vs continuing to hammer away at work tasks. In medicine, there is always something that you can find to get done. You need to have the ability to compartmentalize work and put it aside to make time for yourself.

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