Dr Eamonn Rogers considers obstetrics to be a highlight of medical care. That’s why he wanted intense obstetrics training before he set up a private practice.

“I like that it’s usually a pretty joyful area of medicine. You’re dealing with a certain amount of vibrancy, happiness,” says Dr Rogers, who has almost finished the Maternity Care for BC (MC4BC) program and works as a Vancouver locum GP.

In response to a community need for more patient access to maternity care, the GPSC launched MC4BC in 2008 to support physicians who want to begin or maintain obstetrical care in their practices, or reintroduce it. In 2014, after an evaluation, the program was re-launched with its scope expanded to include post-program mentorship, antenatal/postpartum care support, a moderated maximum number of births per participant, and a self-directed learning experience.

Since starting the program, Dr Rogers has moved from participating in few births to delivering more than 35 babies and assisting in 15 additional births. He’s one of a number of doctors who’ve chosen to add obstetrics to their practice or enhance their existing maternity care.

Dr Rogers, 31, heard about the program from colleagues. One of his preceptors when he was a resident at St. Paul’s Hospital was a recent graduate of the program and she recommended it highly. He was intrigued by the prospect of preceptors, hands-on experience, financial support, and a schedule that could adapt to his own.

So about seven months after his residency had ended, he enrolled in the program, which funds doctors working under a preceptor offering obstetric care, for up to 20 deliveries with the preceptor. MC4BC’s flexible set-up means doctors can choose when they want to do their clinical and delivery work within a one-year deadline.

Dr Rogers set aside a block of about six weeks at Burnaby Hospital, where he worked on a heavy call rotation of 24 hours on and 24 hours off, with breaks, in the in-house clinic and the delivery room.

“I saw anything and everything that came in,” he says.

Previously, he had performed about six deliveries during his two months of obstetrics during his first year of residency. During his second year, however, his training was focused elsewhere and he had fewer obstetrics opportunities.

“The MC4BC program was an opportunity to gain experience and increase exposure to ante- and post-partum care,” he says. In addition to enhancing his expertise and confidence, “I got to see what the lifestyle was like –being a low-risk obstetrics provider– and how I could incorporate it into my practice.”

He describes the MC4BC program as “very easy to enroll in and work through.”

Dr Rogers grew up in Norval, Ontario, a small town outside Toronto. He hopes to establish a family practice in a rural setting where he can watch the community grow over many years.

Obstetrics fits into that long view. “It’s a part of being able to give comprehensive care to patients in my future practice.”

For Dr Rogers, the combination of hands-on clinical care, the potential challenge of acuity and the chance to build relationships with his patients over the course of pre-natal visits, the birth process and post-natal care is immensely appealing.

“Patient continuity and continuity of practice is a big reason that I got into family practice in the first place, so this is a natural extension of that,” he says.

The MC4BC program is funded through the GPSC, and participants are eligible for taxable funding of up to $48,056. MC4BC has received extremely positive assessments from participants. Almost all have agreed that it’s an important support to family physicians because it enhances the care they give patients, and that it has increased their confidence to perform obstetrical deliveries.