Faculty Spotlight – David Cruickshank


Comprehensive Orthopaedics

Interior – Royal Inland Hospital

Can you tell us about your educational background and journey? How did you get to where you are today?

I grew up in Kamloops, BC where I came to appreciate the community, the lifestyle, and the mountains. I came from a background in civil contracting and physics, but my journey took a dramatic turn when I received my acceptance letter to medical school. I completed medical school in Vancouver at UBC and was very fortunate to be matched to the UBC Orthopaedics Residency Program. Upon completion of residency, my journey took me east to Kingston, where I completed an upper extremity fellowship at Queen’s University.

I really enjoyed my time at Queen’s and stayed on as staff for a short while after my fellowship was completed. However, as amazing as Kingston was, the mountains called me back to BC where I accepted a job in Kamloops, the same place I left over 15 years before.

Today, I feel like I landed in one of the best places in the country to live and practice Orthopaedics. My work consists of a great balance of clinical practice and teaching. I run a busy office and a hospital-based practice that allows me to be very flexible in managing a wide range of elective pathology and a comprehensive trauma practice. My family enjoys great outdoor recreation such as skiing at Sun Peaks in the winter and some fantastic mountain biking and lake time in the summer.

My journey through the last 20 years has come full circle. Thinking back almost 20 years ago, I wouldn’t have ever imagined I would be back living and working in Kamloops. Your journey will probably not end up where you originally thought it would, but hang on for the ride and enjoy it along the way.

What inspired you to work in orthopaedics?

Orthopaedics is quite different from other specialties in medicine. In many other disciplines, the diagnosis is the challenge, but when that is made, the treatment can be the easy part. In Orthopaedics, it is the opposite. When you are evaluating a patient either on an elective basis or in trauma, the diagnosis usually is not that difficult. The challenge in Orthopaedics is designing a complex and comprehensive treatment plan and then surgically executing that plan. It is this challenge that I absolutely love. Seeing the lives of your patients change for the better is what makes the late nights and long days worth it.

What excites you most about your work? What are you most proud of?

Recently, I was the physician lead in Kamloops for a project that designed and instituted a central referral system aimed at improving the delivery of musculoskeletal care for our patients. That project went live 6 months ago, and we are still evaluating and modifying the system we built to improve the experience of our patients.

In addition, I was a part of a group that started a daycare total hip arthroplasty program in Kamloops. We have expanded to include uni-compartmental knee arthroplasty, patellofemoral arthroplasty, and are now looking at expanding our daycare program to include shoulder arthroplasty.

I am really proud of what our teams have been able to accomplish in these two projects as it has really improved how our patients access care and their experience through their surgery.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to current trainees?

Think of residency as a 5-year job interview. At the end of residency, you will have two things: your skills and your reputation. Treat both with equal importance. Don’t get bogged down by the long nights and days and heavy workload, and make sure you have fun. I can honestly say that some of my best friends are from my residency group and we continue to be very close even after 5 years.

When you’re not working, where can we find you?

That is easy. In the winter, skiing (either resort or backcountry) and in the summer, mountain biking or relaxing on the boat in the sun. 

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