Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine/Attending Physician
Where do you see the greatest needs in your field?
I think the biggest need is in primary care- there are many physicians nowadays who choose to specialize and fewer who enter into primary care practices than in the past. I think it’s partly because it is harder to be jack-of-all-trades than an expert at one. In addition, the demands of outpatient practice can be overwhelming, as primary care providers coordinate and oversee multiple aspects of their patients’ treatment and care. There is a great deal of documentation required to assure compliance with standards of care, financial issues, and other considerations. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are also great fields that deserve a lot of attention; these highly trained individuals provide outstanding care and access.
What advice would you give someone entering the field?
This is not a nine-to-five job. It’s not a job you can forget about once you leave the office, as you’re often reading patient files or preparing for the next day long after finishing office hours. You must be a lifelong learner and remain up-to-date with information that is constantly expanding and changing; however, technology with immediate access to information has made this much easier. One must work with compassion and patience, and be ready to sacrifice time away from family and personal life. Complexities, complications, and emergency issues are unpredictable. It is very emotionally and physically intense. There will be heartbreak, but also incredible rewards, like helping people optimize their health and the satisfaction of forging amazing relationships with patients, colleagues, and students. You have to give it your all and there is risk of burning out. One must recognize fatigue and burnout, and make adjustments to optimize work life balance.
It’s a demanding, but highly rewarding field.