In the middle of Alberta you can find a lot of beauty. You can also find a home.
Nestled within Alberta’s boreal forest, near the geographical centre of the province, Swan Hills is a community steeped in history, industry, and recreation. A former oilfield base camp, the town has grown to a community full of opportunities both professional and personal.
For those who call it home, it’s the people that make the difference.
“What's great about Swan Hills is the community. It's a close-knit community where people support each other,” says Diana DeGroot, a public health nurse who works in both Barrhead and Swan Hills. “People know each other, and if they don't, connections are made fairly quickly.”
From a health care perspective, while there have been the usual challenge in recruiting staff, the recent arrival of two new doctors has made a huge difference.
“Historically, we’ve had to rely heavily on locums. And with Dr. [Mohamed] Sfaxi and Dr. [Islam] Elawadly in our community, we don’t have to do that anymore -- they're really, really good about supporting each other and covering each other,” says Linda Wolfram, the site manager for the Barrhead and Swan Hills Healthcare Centres. “AHS is really promoting collaborative care, and this site is a perfect example of that because everything everyone works extremely well together. They don't just work together here in the hospital, they're good friends outside the community outside the hospital as well.”
“I like the community. I found that the people here are friendly,” says Dr. Mohamed Sfaxi, who came to Swan Hills in 2015. “This is what made me choose Swan Hills. Since the first day I started working here I didn't feel that I am alone.”
It was also the people of Swan Hills that attracted Dr. Islam Elawadly to also come to the community in 2016.
“I like the proximity between work and home. Everybody here is very, very friendly and there is also lots of support [and appreciation] from [the community],” says Dr. Elawadly. “When I first came to Canada I had the option to go to other provinces as well as other places here in Alberta. But I chose to come to [Swan Hills] because of all these factors. I feel it is very safe here for my family.”