Visiting physicians support patients and staff at West Coast General Hospital

Dr. Jocelyn Black, an emergency department (ED) physician, and Dr. Nanamma Maughn, a family physician, are friends and colleagues who live and work in Haida Gwaii. Both have supported West Coast General Hospital (WCGH) in recent months by providing locum physician services in the ED.

“While it’s nice to be recognized, stabilizing services is a group effort,” said Dr. Black. “Having said that, staff and physicians seemed truly grateful that we were there to help - I definitely felt valued.”

“It really felt like we were helping in a way that was appreciated,” said Dr. Maughn. “Everyone was so welcoming and kind.”

“We are very grateful to our locum partners like Dr. Black and Dr. Maughn in addition to local physicians, nurses, other health-care professionals, support staff and travel nurses,” said Max Jajszczok, Island Health Executive Director, Operations and Rural/Remote Strategy. “Their willingness to provide locum services at West Coast General Hospital when needed supports staff to continue to provide, safe, high-quality care to the patients we serve.”

Dr. Black and Dr. Maughn have both participated in the Nanaimo Emergency Education Program (NEEP) that provides family physicians from smaller, rural communities with a three month, full time learning experience in emergency medicine. Through NEEP, Black and Maughn were both able to participate in clinical placements at WCGH well before their most recent visit, with Dr. Maughn accepting locum shifts at the site last summer.

“It has been a goal of mine to continue serving that community. Port Alberni and the hospital are a good size, WCGH nursing staff are excellent as are my fellow physicians, and I have some familiarity with the site and the area,” said Dr. Maughn. “I also appreciate the opportunity to improve my skills in an emergency department that receives a higher patient volume and more complex cases than what is typically available in my home community.”

“I’d been thinking of returning to WCGH since my time there as a learner with NEEP in 2019, but found it challenging as a parent of young children,” said Dr. Black. “Nanamma’s recent experience sounded both intense and interesting and I was excited to try something new on Vancouver Island.”

The two physicians accepted five shifts in the WCGH ED in early January, working together to care for patients and support staff in the busy ED.

“I really enjoyed the collegiality of the nursing staff and physician team. It was really fun to work alongside Nanamma and bounce cases off one another, and ask others for support or second opinions,” said Dr. Black. 


Dr. Jocelyn Black

“I was also impressed by the commitment of the Port Alberni family physicians and the excellent specialists who made themselves available whenever we needed to consult with them,” said Dr. Maughn. “It was a wonderful experience.”


Dr. Nanamma Maughn

Following their positive experiences in the Alberni Valley, Dr. Black and Dr. Maughn are both encouraging fellow physicians to consider lending their skills to WCGH.

“It’s a busy ED so it’s important to be prepared for that, but it’s also a great place to work and offers lots of diversity,” said Dr. Maughn. “Port Alberni is also a wonderful location with tons of things to do and a very nice community to explore.”

“In addition to being centrally located with surfing and skiing opportunities within an hour and a half drive, Port Alberni seems to be a welcoming, family friendly community. I'm looking forward to my next visit,” said Dr. Black.

Providing shift coverage or locum services with Island Health offers a unique opportunity to explore our picturesque communities and collaborate with our dedicated healthcare teams. We are committed to helping providers find roles that not only meet their professional needs but also allow them to enjoy the natural beauty and diverse experiences our communities have to offer.

For more information about physician locum opportunities in Island Health, please contact the Medical Staff Recruitment team at