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Career Story: Doctor In A Group Medical Practice

Doctor In A Group Medical Practice

Job Title: Physician

Type of Company: I practice medicine in the out-patient clinic. I serve on committees, boards and am associate medical director of my practice.

Education: BA, Zoology, University of Wisconsin •• MD, University of Wisconsin

Previous Experience: I've spent twenty-nine years in the practice of internal medicine in a multi-specialty group, and had some administrative experience as medical director and associate medical director of the practice.

Job Tasks: I am in the office 8 to 4 or 6 pm daily, seeing 15 to 25 patients for urgent problems, routine follow-ups or physical examinations. I participate in committee meetings which contribute to the running of our practice. I also spend several hours a day charting notes (in a computerized record) and making phone calls, reviewing reports and lab tests. I take call for the practice on weekends every six weeks. I am on-call for my own patients and helping to cover my partners twenty-four hours a day, day and night, seven days a week.

I also sit on several committees of a major insurance company and on the school health council in our school system.

I see patients for 15 to 30 minutes at a time. Many of the problems I see are mild but annoying, like rashes, sore throats, tick bites, anxiety. Other problems are much greater, such as chest pain, pneumonia, depression, chronic lung disease, acid reflux. I have many reports and labs to check daily, and phone calls to make to patients to provide answers to questions, advice and to relate labs results.

I consult with my partners to share information about patients and to give and receive advice on the best ways to treat them. I do a lot of work in quality control and in the cost-effective use of prescriptions and this also requires me to talk with my partners after analyzing data.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The worst part of my work is the constant worry about doing the right thing, making the right decisions, meeting expectations of patients and staff (many unrealistic), keeping up with the latest research and the very high costs of maintaining a practice.

The best parts are being with people, the intellectual interest of having to keep up and change with new medical information, the intellectual interest of problem-solving with patients, the many different issues we have to deal with and the possible income.

Job Tips:
1. Pick a field you like.

2. Work in a multi-specialty group

3. Make it about the work, not the money

4. Never stop reading and learning more about the problems you will see.

5. Work with mentors with real life experience.

6. Ask for help when you need it.

Additional Thoughts: If I could change one thing, I'd have taken some time off along the way. What's surprised me most is how terrific this career still is 28 years later, and that there is room for growth and change and learning and excitement. Most important qualities: humor, curiosity, commitment, perfectionism, empathy, problem solving skills, lack of narcissism.

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