There is a new doctor in town.
Family doctor Linda Keeton has joined Dr. Paul McAuley and nurse practitioner Schelene Swinemar at the Mahone Bay Medical Centre. Her first official day was January 21.
Keeton has been practicing in Ontario for about 30 years and just days into the job, she is already enjoying the change.
"I had a real interesting type of family practice. I did that, plus I did a lot of work with people... that lived in second level lodging – drug addicts, mentally ill, etc.," she said. "I would go out and see these people because no one else would do it. This is so different. People are so friendly here."
She had planned on moving to the South Shore, and after searching for a spot to practice, she chose Mahone Bay simply because, "I came here and I really liked the office and the atmosphere. The staff were laughing and talking to the patients and laughing with them, and it really struck me that this would be a good place to work, and it is."
She has purchased a home in Riverport and doesn't seem to mind the 20-minute drive to get to work.
"Driving for 20 minutes in Toronto might get you five kilometres because of traffic and angry drivers," she said.
Keeton was born in Quebec and moved with her family to Ontario at a young age. Her father, Don Wilson had been in Nova Scotia when he was just 17, and decided to return to the area several years ago, and he, along with his wife Linda, purchased the Topmast Motel.
Keeton's sister, Diane Wilson, followed him to Nova Scotia, and is a rheumatologist in her own clinic in Lunenburg. She has also taken over running the motel from her father.
Don and Linda, now in their 80s, still live in Lunenburg.
Since moving to the area Keeton says she has become like a tourist, enjoying the fresh air, taking photos and combing the beaches for treasure.
"I find it all very fascinating," she quipped.
Besides playing the tourist, she enjoys sailing, beach-combing, and she has been thinking about looking for a place to do some ballroom dancing, something she has enjoyed in the past.
Keeton has four adult children scattered throughout the country. Now that she is settled into the area, she regrets not having moved here years ago, and wonders why other doctors don't want to move here.
"I wish I would have done this years ago. The whole freshness of attitude, the clean air, and the fact you can go out and see the ocean, instead of maybe a methadone clinic," she said. "I can't imagine why doctors don't want to come here."
The private family practice clinic is continuing to use the provincial wait list and patients on that list will be contacted by the clinic.