This BC community has the perfect work-life balance, here's why its residents love it

May 25 2023, 3:48 pm

The municipality of Powell River offers an escape from city life with its breathtaking landscapes, countless outdoor activities, and friendly community ambiance. It’s part of the qathet Regional District on the northern Sunshine Coast of BC.

Couple this with the fact that there are many rewarding career opportunities at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), it’s not hard to see why healthcare workers love living in the area.

Sunshine Coast Tourism

The health authority currently has several roles at facilities like qathet General Hospital, Willingdon Creek Village and Evergreen Extended Care Unit. It can even help successful applicants get to the qathet Regional District, with the potential for relocation assistance reimbursement in the form of a forgivable loan, and provincial and federal student loan forgiveness for those who are eligible.

So, whether you’re interested in a job in healthcare or are already employed in the field but want a change in lifestyle, the qathet Regional District might just be the place for you. We spoke to three healthcare workers about how living and working in the area has changed their professional and personal lives for the better.

Ryan Schmeister, Emergency Nurse

Ryan Schmeister is an emergency nurse who was born and raised in the qathet Regional District. The simple, relaxed vibe of the area and the endless opportunities it offers are what made him stay over the years. Every day, he says, feels like a vacation.

“Just about every kid who grows up in this area is possessed to pack their bags and leave for higher places as they reach their teenage and young adult years. Some who leave never return, but many, myself included, only come to realize just how rich their lives [already] were once they left that life behind,” he says.

“Nothing compares to the peacefulness of sitting on my deck and gazing into a sky that is unpolluted by light, driving through a sea of trees to eat a cinnamon bun in the village of Lund, or going on a walk through town and inevitably running into friends and acquaintances along the way.”

In recent years, Schmeister has witnessed a revival of arts and culture, something that he says adds to the area’s unique character. He’s seen the addition of some amazing coffee shops, incredible restaurants, gyms, and all kinds of small, locally-owned businesses.

“It is a simple, quiet, and family-oriented community that plays host to music and film festivals, farmers’ markets, outdoor events such as bike races and marathons, and so much more. There is always something to do or something to see, year-round,” he says.  “It is a very small world here and I absolutely love it. Being able to simply go on a walk and accidentally stumble upon friends and acquaintances is a real treat and is something one simply does not experience in larger cities.”

When it comes to his profession, one of the things that he enjoys most is becoming a “jack of all trades.” He feels a greater sense of autonomy, and enjoys the wider scope of practice that comes with working in a remote hospital. “I personally love the challenge that it provides. I am a far more well-rounded and confident nurse because of the experience.”

Kimberly Faber, RN

As a travel nurse, Kimberly Faber often visited the area and found herself returning to the town over and over again because she loved it so much. When she decided she wanted to pursue a perinatal specialty certificate, VCH sponsored her education and allowed her to choose a part-time position in Labour and Delivery at qathet General Hospital.

“There were opportunities for me as an experienced nurse to move anywhere, and this was the place I chose to call home. Life is good here,” she says. 

For Faber, the beautiful natural landscape of the town was life-changing. She has easy access to several quiet walking and biking trails, including Canada’s largest hut-to-hut hiking trail the Sunshine Coast Trail, and frequently takes camping trips to Tin Hat Mountain. “Connecting with nature is essential for my well-being. My health and my quality of life have improved from living here and working part-time.”

As for her day-to-day work environment, Faber says there are some great perks that come with employment at a hospital in a smaller, more remote area. “It’s nice to live in a place that only takes around 10 minutes to get anywhere and [where you] rarely get stuck in traffic. Working rural also means that I get more diversity in my shifts, I enjoy that I get to do labour and delivery, antenatal care, postpartum and neonatal care.”

She encourages anyone considering a career at VCH in the qathet Regional District to go for it. “Our community is in need of healthcare workers and VCH can help fund your relocation. If you have ever wanted to do your perinatal, emergency, or critical specialties [they can] fund that for you too.” This is because VCH offers paid training opportunities for specialty nursing areas, which you can find here.

Gillian Jarvie, RN, BScN

Similarly, Gillian Jarvie, a registered nurse at qathet General Hospital’s Emergency Department, “fell in love” with the area because of its natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities. Jarvie relocated from Vancouver, where she and her family lived in an apartment in the city. She had always desired to move to a small town, somewhere idyllic and safe, where her children would have space to play and grow.

She quickly discovered the cost of living and housing rates to be quite affordable in comparison to Vancouver, which allowed her and her husband to buy a home and give their kids the environment they needed to truly thrive. Now, she enjoys taking her kids on walks through the forest after school, strolling to the ocean from her home, and driving to the nearby lakes and woods to hike or fish.

“This is a very friendly community. I would say overall, my life just has more ease. It’s all the little things that add up to make life flow; parking is free, swimming lessons are easy to get into, there’s no traffic, it’s easy to get a table at a restaurant, the babysitter lives down the street, other parents will watch out for your kid after school, and we generally feel safe — it’s great.”

When it comes to working at VCH, Jarvie loves the “pace and flow” of her day-to-day and how every shift is different. She and her fellow healthcare professionals have the opportunity to really get to know patients and provide meaningful, patient-centred care. That incredible sense of community in the town exists in the hospital as well.

“I love that you get to know your co-workers. You know the names of the people in radiology, you have [a rapport] with the front desk, you can just holler for the porter when you need them. The nurses and staff really pitch in and look out for each other and I am proud to be a part of a team that cares about providing culturally safe care.”

To check out some of the remarkable careers Vancouver Coastal Health has to offer, visit

Daily Hive

Branded Content

This content was created by Hive Labs in partnership with a sponsor.
Katy BrennanKaty Brennan

+ Venture
+ Jobs
+ Sponsored
+ Curated