Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler comes off a night shift on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler comes off a night shift on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Our Hometown: The doctor is in the house

Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler was born and raised in Williams Lake

Homegrown talent Dr. Sarah Dressler was just a little girl when she first showed an interest in anatomy, pathology and how to fix the human body when something goes wrong with it.

“I remember reading bits of anatomy books when I was a little kid — it was a lifelong interest that became more of a career goal in my teen years,” said Dressler.

Some years later, Dressler has achieved her dreams and more as one of the emergency room doctors at Cariboo Memorial Hospital.

When asked what she feels women in particular bring to the challenging role of ER doctor as International Women’s Day approaches, Dressler, paused for thought, then said strong communication skills are a critical asset in the field of medicine that seems to come by naturally for women.

“Medicine is not a black and white field, it is largely a career of decision making and weighing risks and benefits,” Dressler said, noting often times, of difficult decision making.

“Decisions between patients and doctors and between nurses, doctors and other health professionals. I do not want to imply that many of my male colleagues do not possess these skills, as they largely do, but I do find communication a particular strength of women.”

Read more: 3 bidders shortlisted for $217.8 million Cariboo Memorial Hospital redevelopment

Born and raised in Williams Lake, Dressler is a trained emergency specialist and has been working in the emergency department since the beginning of 2015.

“I’ve always been a calm person and am able to stay very objective. In horrible situations I don’t wrap myself up in it personally or take it personally,” Dressler said of how she handles the pressures of the job. “I’m able to keep my training and knowledge objectively in my mind and approach it very clinically without emotional involvement.”

That personality trait is probably her biggest asset for her work, she said.

Emergency medicine training is about imagining the worse case scenario and being able to re-evaluate when things are not going as expected. Essential in any emergency room is having a sense of humour, she added.

“I think that’s what attracts people who have the ability to keep it light a lot of the time, which is why I enjoy working there because there are similar-minded people.”

Her shifts go by quickly and she never knows what will be coming in the door.

“The team there is great to work with — I really like the personalities, the team-based work, acute medicine and procedures.”

Cariboo Memorial Hospital’s ER is busy and Dressler said as a team the doctors and nurses needed to know each other inside and out.

“You learn to trust and rely on each other.”

By the time she was a Grade 10 student at Columneetza Secondary School she knew she wanted to go into medicine.

After high school she attended the University of Alberta for a bachelor of science degree and then the UBC Northern Medical Program at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, followed by doing her family practice residency in Cape Breton, N.S.

While in university she worked for the Cariboo Fire Centre initial attack during the summers for eight years which is where she met her husband Leif Dressler who also worked there.

Emergency disaster management has been a part of her life in some form for her whole working career and part of the diverse experience and advantage she gained growing up in the Cariboo Chilcotin.

Upon her completion of medical school, the Dresslers realized the obvious choice once they had children was to return home where both of their families are.

They have two children — Freyja, 6, and Leo, 4.

She only took three months of maternity leave after Leo was born because as an independent contractor she is responsible for finding a replacement.

“There were no locums to be had at that point so it was either that or leave the team high and dry.”

Her schedule is six days on, which finishes off with two midnight to 8 a.m. shifts and then six days off.

When she isn’t working, she loves to hang out with her family and said her erratic schedule gives her lots of time at home.

Chuckling, she said exercise used to be a part of her life before having children, and hopefully will be again soon.

She loves hiking, camping, snowshoeing — any outdoor recreation — which is one of the big reasons they returned to Williams Lake.

Photography is another a favourite hobby, she added.

Read more: Our Hometown: Pursuit of excellence

www.facebook.com

Williams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

The Horsefly highway at the Bells Lake Road junction is closed Friday morning, April 23, 2021. (Eric Irving Facebook photo)
‘There is no simple solution’: Floodwaters collapse Horsefly Road east of Williams Lake

Beaver Valley Road to Likely Road the best option for those with cars

Red dresses hang in front of the Cariboo Friendship Centre in Williams Lake. (Photo submitted)
Advocates call for stronger judicial protection for women of domestic violence

May 5 is National Day of Awareness on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

First Journey Trails CEO Thomas Schoen (from left), Jimco Services’ James Doerfling, Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars and Sugar Cane Archaeology’s Marvin Bob break ground on a new mountain biking trail network project at WLFN. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
WATCH: Williams Lake First Nation breaks ground on multi-use bike trail project

Phase one of the project will see the construction of a 1,750-metre hiking and biking trail

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Most Read