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Career Story: Solo General Practitioner

Solo General Practitioner

Job Title: Medical Doctor

Type of Company: I run a medical office: primary care medicine; solo practitioner.

Education: BS, Chemistry, Yale University

M.D,. University of Rochester

Previous Experience: I served a medical internship and residency before going into practice.

Job Tasks: I see patients with medical problems, both by appointment, and on a walk-in basis.

I have five medical assistants and they prepare the patients for the medical examination: taking blood pressure, simple medical history, drawing blood urinalysis etc. All of my work is on an out-patient basis. I don't do hospital work. I see patients with a variety of medical problems: e.g. sore throats, blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac issues. I manage their care through medications, obtaining appropriate testing, and working in referrals to specialists as necessary.

In the last few years I have had an increase in one line of work: drug detoxification from narcotics via Suboxone-medication replacement treatment.

We have a three-and-a-half- to four-month drug detoxification program, wherein we gradually taper patients' narcotic usage. We monitor their care and treatment throughout, and have some after-care treatment aspects.

We do a fair amount of our own testing: drug testing, urinalysis, some EKG and some x-ray.

A good amount of our work involves explaining patients' medical issues in terms they understand. The original Greek derivation of the word doctor is "teacher", and I try to present their medical issues in reasonable analogies. I also try to work through some of the clutter that might accumulate when patients see multiple different doctors for different issues.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the successful management of a patient's otherwise thorny or unresolved problem or issue.

More difficult aspects involve some of the unreasonable expectations that patients sometimes have. Oddly, with many more of our patients having essentially free medical "insurance", via state benefits like Masshealth, their demands and sense of entitlement have increased, and everyone seems to be rushing to get maximal testing and maximal referrals rather than actually exhibiting some of the patience that you'd expect from patients.

Also paperwork and form-filling take up too much time.

Job Tips: Medicine is becoming more guideline-oriented, and many doctors essentially "follow the pack". If you are intent on maximizing your creativity, choose a surgical specialty. More and more, this is becoming a cautious field.

Statistics are so often misused when authors are trying to promote any given desired result. I would recommend a course in logic and statistics, grossly under-emphasized in college and medical school.

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