Dr. Fourie Smith

President’s Message

Dr. Fourie Smith

I am honoured to be the new President of Doctors Manitoba and to be working on your behalf over   the next year. As we move forward together, I would like to focus on the qualities that I feel are befitting of both physicians and their medical association: compassion, competence, commitment and courage. These qualities were identified by Mr. John Murphy in an article published on MDLinx, entitled “Do you have the 10 qualities that make a good doctor?” (September 11, 2018), whose words I often cite verbatim in the following.

Dr. John Saunders once said “Compassion is the ability to identify with the suffering of another or to imagine ourselves in a similar state.” As Manitoba doctors we must never lose our compassion. I truly believe compassion is what separates the good  doctor from the great doctor. But compassion means caring and when we care, we often end up taking our work home with us. Not physically but emotionally. Sir William Osler was right – medicine is a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head. Fortunately, our medical association reflects that compassion – for us and for our patients.

When we measure the quality of a doctor, we have to focus on intellectual skills such as the ability to make a difficult diagnosis, as well as emotional intelligence such as the ability to collaborate and effectively lead teams. Doctors in this province embrace lifelong learning and professional development in order to continuously enhance our skills. Similarly, Doctors Manitoba is recognized as one of the most competent medical associations in this country. I have experienced the competency of staff, I have worked with two CEOs and I will clearly state there is no  better team to be found.

As physicians, we are committed to our profession, we are committed to our patients and we are committed to continued self-improvement. But the virtue of commitment is the most difficult to maintain. It is difficult to stay committed when you are continuously being bombarded in an ever-changing environment, when you are not sure what is waiting for you around the corner. Fortunately, our medical association is fully committed to its mission to serve the medical doctors of this province, advocating for their professional, economic and personal well-being. We have done this in the past, we will do so in the future, and we will do so without apology.

Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” Doctors in this province have always displayed moral courage – the voluntary willingness to stand up for and act on one’s ethical beliefs despite barriers which may inhibit the ability to proceed towards right action. Moral courage is critical to a doctor’s commitment to act in the best interest of his or her patients. At Doctors Manitoba, you will find courage aplenty. It is an organization built on the principle of taking a stand. It is an organization that will be there for you when your back is against the wall and never back down from advocating on your behalf.

It will be through compassion, competence, commitment and courage that we will make great strides for the profession in Manitoba. We must maintain a united front, now more than ever. It is in  this spirit that I want you to share your concerns and insights with me now and throughout the coming year. Please reach out to me anytime at president@doctorsmanitoba.ca

Dr. Fourie Smith
President, 2019-20