Sexual health is a core component of Vernon gynecologist’s practice

Dr. Nicholas Half takes pride in his rapport with patients

  • Jul. 24, 2019 9:00 a.m.

– Story by Toby Tannas Photography by Lia Crowe

There isn’t much down time when you’re a busy obstetrician/gynecologist in a small but growing community. When Dr. Nicholas Half does have a moment to glance out his corner office window at the picturesque view of Vernon, he can’t help but be grateful.

Over the past decade, Nicholas has built a beautiful life and practice in the North Okanagan city, but as a young med student this was not the vision he had for his career.

“Not a lot of men have the life dream of being a gynecologist,” he chuckles. “Cardiothoracic surgery was my number one choice; orthopaedic surgery was my second choice, and at the top of the list of things I said I wouldn’t consider was obstetrics/gynecology.”

In his third year of medical school, when students started seeing patients on rotation in the hospital, Nicholas quickly ruled out his top two choices for various reasons and kept coming back to obstetrics/gynecology.

“It was just one of those things. It’s got the medicine component, it’s got patient care, it’s a lot of conversation, not all surgery.”

Ultimately though, it was the patients who cemented his medical future.

“I love what I do. Women are very communicative. They show gratitude and thankfulness. There’s not a lot of specialties in medicine anymore where you hear ‘thank you.’ I hear those words every day.”

Nicholas’ love for the work and his commitment to his patients has recently taken him into a new realm of service: a user-pay procedure that’s rarely offered in a gynecology clinic.

“It’s called the MonaLisa Touch. It’s a non-surgical laser treatment for vaginal dryness, discomfort and irritation.”

After seeing many women suffer through sexual issues post menopause or after battling diseases like cancer, Nicholas decided to make a significant investment in an option that could improve their quality of life.

“You see cancer patients — they can’t even touch estrogen and they suffer. These are women in their 30s and 40s and their sex life is gone. This is who this machine is for.”

Regardless of why a patient is referred to his gynecology clinic, sexual health often comes up in conversation. Nicholas believes that when you can do something to improve or make sex more comfortable for a woman, her life and her relationship improve.

“Sex makes up about five per cent of the relationship when it’s good,” he explains. “But when it’s not, or it’s absent, it makes up 95 per cent of the relationship.”

As a male in a field that’s shifting to predominantly female care providers, Nicholas takes pride in the rapport he’s developed with his patients.

“I think as a doctor you want to be someone a patient can talk to comfortably about whatever they want to talk about, and that feel they’re being respected and listened to.”

Nicholas is well practiced in communicating with women as he’s married with three young daughters.

“We have twins. They’re five years old and we have a three year old. So basically, we have triplets. It’s busy,” he laughs.

With more than 100 hours dedicated to work in an average week, Nicholas doesn’t get to spend as much time with his kids as other dads with 9-to-5 jobs.

“My work life and home life balance could always be better; we all struggle with that as physicians. I just try to give them quality time. They just want to be with you, it doesn’t matter if we’re playing a game or building a gate.”

Nicholas’ wife, Dr. Aisha Manji, is also a physician. It means she understands first-hand the demands of the job.

Nicholas says, “I think that’s probably the best thing, that understanding. I think even in a small community where you’re hoping to have a better lifestyle than the big city, there are still a lot of demands in terms of what you can’t miss, what you have to go to battle for, for your patients.”

The couple will be getting some extra time together over the coming months, though. They’ve committed to dancing in support of the North Okanagan Hospice Society.

“My wife has a tie to the palliative community, end of life care. It’s always been one of her passions.”

Dancing with the Vernon Stars takes place this September. Between now and then, dance practices will become date nights.

“For us to spend that extra time together, dancing together will be nice,” he says with a smile.

The dancing commitment is another weekly appointment in an already very full calendar. But as I sit across from Dr. Half, I get the distinct sense he’s the kind of man who can juggle it all and do it well. Family man, physician, and for the next few months, fundraiser and dancer in support of a cause and a community very close to his heart.

“I love Vernon. My quality of life is great, I’ve got great people around me. That’s what it’s all about.”

Just Posted

Schroder pitches Team Canada to win over Dominican

Greater Trail native leads Team Canada to opening game win at Pan Am women’s baseball tournament

Keep motorized vehicles off Trans-Canada Trail

Government considers allowing off-road vehicles on Trans Canada Trail

West Kootenay EcoSociety opens new office in downtown Trail

Located on Eldorado Street, the new site opened last week

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Based on a popular news story locally or beyond

Ambitious plan to expand Salmo came to naught

Place Names: Salmo and Slocan neighbourhoods

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

U16 B.C. fastpitch team named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

Most Read