St. Paul's newest doctor impressed by community
When Dr. Ruan Van Rooyen arrived in Canada in November, he admits it was “a very big shock.”
Coming from the Republic of South Africa, Van Rooyen said it was hard to breath in the cold Canadian climate, but, after spending a few months working in the Lakeland area, St. Paul’s newest physician seems as if he is becoming much more accustomed to the winter weather.
“Let it rain, let it snow, let the sun shine,” says Van Rooyen, adding, the climate and weather is not something that affects his career choices. And despite recently running into some snowy road conditions on a trip home from Edmonton, he says the snow really is beautiful.
Van Rooyen found his way to St. Paul after hearing good things about the community from fellow doctors. Dr. Noreen Botha has been in town for just over a year now and is one of the colleagues that encouraged Van Rooyen to make the move to St. Paul.
“I chose St. Paul because of the good things my colleagues have told me.”
After making the move to Canada, Van Rooyen spent a month in Bonnyville during an assessment period. He then moved to St. Paul where he has been splitting his time between working at the new Wellness Centre and the hospital.
Along with practicing family medicine, Van Rooyen’s specialty lies in anesthetics.
So far, Van Rooyen has only good things to say about his new home. He believes St. Paul is a town where people look after each other, and where patients and doctors are not just numbers, but are seen as people.
“I felt very welcomed,” he says, adding, he also feels safe. One of the reasons Van Rooyen felt drawn to working in Canada was because physicians are appreciated for working hard. He adds that in South Africa, physicians are tolerated, not celebrated.
Van Rooyen also supports the Canadian attitude to screen and prevent disease, rather than simply treating it. He says it’s a system that works and believes the town of St. Paul has “tremendous potential” to be a very healthy community.
Although Van Rooyen came to St. Paul shortly after the new Wellness Centre opened its doors, he did have the opportunity to see the old Associated Medical Clinic, and says he would like to applaud and thank the Town of St. Paul for building the new clinic.
“I think it’s an absolute privilege,” says Van Rooyen of the new building. Along with having the new facility to work from, Van Rooyen says he believes St. Paul is “a town that has exactly what it needs.”
And although he can’t take to the links or courts yet, Van Rooyen’s interests outside of his career as a physician lie in playing golf and tennis. He also enjoys going to the gym regularly, along with watching movies and listening to music.
Van Rooyen plans to stay in St. Paul long-term and is currently accepting new patients. He is not married, but he is considering bringing his immediate family from South Africa to Canada in the future.
He will be returning to South Africa this spring for a short time, but as of May 24, Van Rooyen will be available full-time for consultation and anesthetics.
Van Rooyen completed his education at the University of Pretoria and did his internship in a small rural community. A couple years later, he began specializing in anesthetics and did a two-year residency at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg.
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