Doctor Pierre Cloete’s first official day working at the McLennan Medical Building began on September 9 though he did a meet and greet with patients the day before.
Having arrived in Canada in September, Dr. Cloete spent three months working in High Level before coming to McLennan.
Cloete is from South Africa and following graduation he practiced family medicine, then worked as a doctor on cruise ships for two years just prior to moving to Canada.
“I decided to go to the cruise ships, just to explore a bit, to see the world and meet different nationalities,” he says, but adds that it was something he decided to do for a limited time.
“For me, being on the cruise ships had an expiry date. Initially I planned to stay for a year but then I was promoted to senior doctor on the ships so I stayed for another year and then things just fell in place for me to come here to Canada.“
As an energetic person who enjoys being outdoors close to nature, being relatively close to the mountains, he sees this area as providing a great many opportunities.
When people ask him how he is adapting to the cold weather he says that it is not a big adjustment. Growing up, Cloete lived with his family in Berlin Germany for a year so he has already experienced cold weather.
He says he likes cold weather because it creates opportunities to do different things outside, like snowboarding, which he recently discovered and finds it is something he just loves to do.
“I am an active guy who likes new adventures that is why I worked on the cruise ships and that is why I came to Canada,” he says. “I love traveling, I love exploring new places and I think Canada is such a lovely country with such wide open spaces especially in the north. I think it is a good lifestyle that people have here.”
However, he admits that being in McLennan and the Smoky River area is a bit of an adjustment from the busy, lively work with the cruise lines with lots of events happening but he says he is looking forward to settling down a bit.
“In South Africa I was raised on a farm so I am used to a small community. When I studied and worked it was in big cities, but I am used to smaller farming communities that is why I decided to come to a smaller town like McLennan.”
Cloete is looking forward to accepting new patients and having the continuity of seeing the results as people improve, rather than his patients just leaving, as was the case on the ships. He is also keen to continue with emergency medicine.
“I really like emergency medicine, so I will be doing emergency medicine at the hospital as well. I am looking forward to keeping those skills up,” he says. “In South Africa I worked for about two years in an emergency medicine unit, which was really busy, we saw a lot of heart attacks, strokes and a lot of traumatic things, so that got me going in emergency medicine.”
While acknowledging that one can never know what the future holds, he says he is planning on staying in the region permanently.
Currently the hospital is providing him accommodation but he hopes that in the next month or so he will find his own place.
“I am really looking forward to this new chapter in my life. Basically, when I left South Africa for the cruise ships that was a new chapter and now coming here is a another new chapter but as you can imagine, getting settled-in does take some time.”