From Music to Medicine
Freshly designated medical doctor Kristin VanSligtenhorst switched majors in her first year at Redeemer and hasn’t looked back.

Dr. Kristin VanSligtenhorst ‘11 intended to go to university for music. While she was leaning towards attending Redeemer, the addition of prestigious pianist Valerie Tryon as an instructor in the Music program sealed the deal. But after starting her courses at Redeemer, what had been in high school a competing interest in medicine grew into something more. She swapped her piano bench for a lab and a microscope — a decade later, she’s a freshly licensed family physician.

VanSligtenhorst switched majors after her first year. While exploring the broad scientific worlds of chemistry and biology, she was also able to study philosophy and theology. “I enjoyed and valued many of my courses,” she recalls. “Critical thinking and appraisal of information in the light of a Christian worldview permeated all of my science courses. That has stayed with me.” In the sciences, she had the opportunity to contribute to hands-on research with her professors.

“My faith gives me perspective, and I try to keep a humble attitude while serving my patients.”

VanSligtenhorst completed her MD at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. Filling out the “past research” portion of her application was straightforward. “Redeemer prepared me with challenging courses that led me to have good study habits,” she says. “It also taught me to critically appraise information.” Following this was a family medicine residency at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, which included rural medicine training throughout Newfoundland and six months of remote medicine in Nunavut.

At the time of writing, she’s moved back home to southwestern Ontario to locum as a family physician. “This involves some family medicine clinics, some work in rural emergency departments and some weeks as a hospitalist where I look after patients who are admitted to hospital,” she notes. After her stint in southwestern Ontario, she has hopes to return to Nunavut to complete more locum work as a full-scope family physician.

For VanSligtenhorst, medicine is a direct and tangible means of living out her faith. “It can be easy to get weighed down by never-ending to-do lists and many people in this profession suffer from burnout,” she says. “But, my faith gives me perspective, and I try to keep a humble attitude while serving my patients. I believe God calls us all to develop our talents to the fullest and do our best wherever he has placed us. For me in medicine, that means working hard to sharpen my knowledge and skills in order to give the people I see the best care possible.”

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/ October 18, 2019
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