If we have met before, thanks for reading, and if I haven’t had the pleasure to meet you, I want to take this time to introduce myself. This post will be an attempt at a watered down version of my life, mostly focused on the professional with a twist of adventure and personal stories. I will stop when the timeline gets to 2020, the COVID experience. This is when things changed. I hope you like it and choose to follow along. Feel free to follow me on TWITTER @manitobabarnes or INSTAGRAM chris_bar_nes. I don’t have a large social media following so I would appreciate a follow.
My name is Chris. I go by Chris.B, chris_bar_nes and @manitobabarnes. I am married, 1 daughter and 3 dogs. I live in Winnipeg where I work as a Physician Assistant (PA). I have 3 brothers and my parents that all live in Winnipeg. It is cold here but I grew up in Winnipeg, went through grade school, highschool and Paramedic College then moved away to Alberta until I was 30 years young. In Alberta I went to University, got a bachelor of Nursing Degree and worked in rural and northern towns as a Paramedic and a Registered Nurse in ER and ICU. I traveled a lot, mostly in Canada but also Asia and the USA [I won’t go into any crazy travel stories in this post so if you are interested, sign up for the MSoPA news letter and you will be notified of future BLOG posts]. I have been to every province and Territory, more than once. I’m pretty proud of that. I have had many different jobs. I once worked for Purolator as a courier, at a Race Track as a paramedic, I worked at Assiniboia Downs Horse Race Track, I was a waiter and cook at Salisbury House, I sold Insurance, worked in a factory making AB MAsters [points if you know what that is], and I have also been unemployed.
When I was 30, I returned to Manitoba to be closer to my family. I had aspirations of working for STARS, but started at the Emergency Department in Winnipeg until I could get my foot in the door. I was there 18 months before I met a nurse that worked for a company called Kivalliq/Keewatin Air, charted/scheduled medevac airline service and ended up flying Acute Care medevac service as an RN for 4 years based out of Rankin Inlet in Nunavut, Churchill, and Iqaluit. Funny how things happen. This job was an awesome job. I got to travel all over the North, meet amazing people, experience Inuit culture, and met Penny Triggs. If you know, you know. Some awesome places I got to travel to were Baker Lake, Arviat, Coral Harbour and my favorite; Sanikiluaq. I got to ride the polar bear tundra buggies, kayak with the whales in Churchill, polar bear dip in the Hudson Bay and experience the northern lights at 26,000 feet in the clearest arctic skies. 24 hour light is no joke and small planes definitely have their quirks.
While cruising the arctic skies in the King Air 200’s, I was also working at the Emergency Department in Winnipeg on my time off. This is where I met a Physician Assistant (PA) for the first time. Her name was Brandi. She was so interesting and her career as an ICU nurse turned PA really resonated with me. I learned about the profession from her and did a lot of research and that is when I decided this was my next adventure [I won’t go into the “what is a Physician Assistant” in this post so if you are interested, sign up for the MSoPA news letter and you will be notified of future BLOG posts]. I quickly went from “research” mode to “action” mode. I applied to the Masters of Physician Assistant Studies Program at the University of Manitoba as quickly as possible. To my surprise, I got an interview on my first try, went through the interview process and was accepted for the class of 2013. I put in my notice at Keewatin Air and I worked my last 2 week rotation with the medevac service which ended on the Friday and I started PA classes on the Monday. Crazy but I was so excited [I will save the PA school story for a different post so if you are interested, sign up for the MSoPA news letter and you will be notified of future BLOG posts]. Sorry Brandi, I never returned your textbooks.
After graduating PA school I was fortunate that I got a job working at the Emergency Department that I had worked at as an RN for several years prior to getting into PA GRAD school. I had a lot of support from the physicians and nurses which made the transition from Nursing to Medicine both confusing and challenging. I think I’ll save that story for another post as well. While in PA school, I met a girl. A wonderful girl. I now call her Wifely. I spent 5 years in the ER as a PA and that’s when COVID HIT the world.
Overall my professional life has been one of opportunity. Preparing myself for opportunity and then taking those opportunities when they present themselves. Being malleable, going with the flow, overcoming adversity and taking courses at the school of hard knocks. I look forward to sharing more.