Becoming a medical examiner is no easy feat and Dr. Matt Bowes, Nova Scotia’s chief medical examiner, knows that.
“I have a bachelor of science degree from U of T and then I went to medical school at Queen’s. So that’s eight years right out of the gate and you’re only about half-way there at that point. You have to do another five years of anatomical pathology training, which I did at Dalhousie. And then you have to do a forensic pathology fellowship, I did mine in Miami but there’s a lot of great programs out there. So that’s about 14 years of training after high school,” he said in a phone interview with 770 CHQR.
11 Canadian post-secondary schools offer postgraduate programs in pathology.
He noted that because it’s such a specialized field that requires a lengthy post-secondary career, the hiring pool is usually very shallow and recruiting for jobs can be very problematic.
“There’s a shortage in the States actually, so drawing from the United States – although that had been kind of the mainstay for Canadian jurisdictions in the past – is kind of not the fertile ground that it used to be.”
Hiring a medical examiner can also be a slow process, he said.
“Whoever you’re going to recruit is going to have to give some kind of notice to their employer before they move. I have to give six months notice to my employer – if I quit today I couldn’t leave for six months – so that could be potentially problematic.”