If you book an appointment at Oak Valley Health’s new Community Health Clinic (CHC) in Stouffville, there’s a good chance you’ll meet Ryan Saunders. Ryan is a nurse practitioner, working at the CHC, whose team is also serving patients who book appointments through the Central Region Virtual Urgent Care Clinic (VUCC).

Image collage of Ryan Saunders, a Nurse Practitioner of the Community Health Clinic from Oak Valley Health. He is shown to be standing in front of the front desk, and also working with another physician inside the clinic.

Ryan always knew he wanted to work in health care, although he was unsure of exactly what that might look like. After completing his undergraduate degree in biomedical science at the University of Guelph, Ryan decided on nursing. He continued his education at Queen’s University, where he obtained his bachelor of science in nursing, and then shortly after, began his career as a registered nurse at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in 2016. While Ryan worked in the Emergency Department at SickKids, he completed his Masters of Nursing and Nurse Practitioner in Primary Health Care at the University of Toronto.

“My favourite part of my career as a Nurse Practitioner so far, is having a similar scope of practice to a physician, with the ability to diagnose, prescribe, and investigate medical concerns, but still emulating the heart that is nursing,” says Ryan. “I really feel that this allows me to provide the best care possible to my patients.”

Image collage of Ryan Saunders, a Nurse Practitioner of the Community Health Clinic from Oak Valley Health. He is shown to be standing in front of an examination room and another photo of him checking the heartbeat of an asian male child.

Ryan has been with Oak Valley Health since January 2021, starting as an Emergency Department Nurse Practitioner at Markham Stouffville Hospital. With the opening of the CHC, Ryan saw an opportunity to be able to work with patients and help serve the Markham and Stouffville communities outside of the hospital.

“My previous Emergency Department experience allowed me to see first-hand the impact of high patient volumes, health care provider burnout, and the complications of unmanaged conditions that, with timely access to care, could be prevented,” says Ryan. “I think the CHC will be able to bridge health care and family medicine gaps to patients of all ages.”

Recently, the CHC expanded to include the Children’s Rapid Access Clinic, providing pediatric care to children six months of age and older, an addition that comes at the perfect time as we head into the fall respiratory season. The clinic provides timely access to medical care for children, and Ryan’s experience in paediatrics was a welcome addition to the clinic.

“I think this will really benefit the Oak Valley Health community, and provide support for children and their families, especially as we approach a time where acute illness is more prevalent,” says Ryan.

Outside of work, Ryan enjoys staying active. He teaches spin classes at RISE Cycle in Liberty Village in Toronto, and also plays on a water polo team in an LGBTQ2S+ league. Ryan has a two year old Goldendoodle named Rufus that he enjoys taking on long walks. As I’m sure many of us do, Ryan enjoys a good brunch and playing the odd video game.

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