It has been a long journey to get to this point. Travelling from Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, plus a few pit-stops along the way to Indiana. Now changing from being an employee, to being the owner of my own medical practice.
To be honest when I first thought about becoming a doctor I thought I would be a pathologist, later when I was accepted into med school, family practice was my desire. It wasn’t until second year medical school that I found that pediatrics was where my future lay.
It wasn’t that I disliked the laboratory, I just liked people better. And it wasn’t that I didn’t like adults, I just found that, not only did I like working with kids (having never grown up myself), I realized that the opportunities to affect their lives for the better were so much greater.
Nothing in the process was easy, though. I had to discover who I was and what kind of doctor I wanted to be. After residency my first position was so unsatisfactory that I spent the next few years being an independent contracting temp physician through the Midwest.
Perhaps I should have realized from filling in for these physicians, especially the solo practitioners, that being in private practice had so much to offer in comparison to working in a large group. This is not to say that the ten years working for medical groups in the area was a mistake. It was thanks to them I was able to come home to the Illiana area where I grew up. I was also able to work with some wonderful people while earning an honest living.
But despite the greater financial benefits and camaraderie, the limited control that I had in these situations would wear on me terribly. Too many times I’ve been stressed by not being able to schedule, treat, and speak to the patients in a way that I feel best serves them and myself.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have families that wish to continue seeing me. I have also had parents that didn’t like my style. Neither group is more important than the other, but in the corporate environment, one negative comment often outweighs a hundred good ones.
Being in a solo practice by myself I hope to work with the families to come to an understanding of what our mutual needs are. Being able to get 20-30 minutes of attention to a serious problem one time may make them accept that a very minor problem another time may only take five minutes. My not having to worry about overbooking because appointments are showing up late may permit me to see when a problem isn’t just about the child’s runny nose but something more subtle.
Will there still be tension and stress? Most certainly, but it will be in an environment that will be more flexible and resilient due to what I hope will be a co-operative effort.
I look forward to the challenges to come and wish everyone the best.