A physician colleague posted about what being a primary care doc means to her. I read this on my morning commute, and was moved to tears. Though I’m internal medicine and she’s family practice, how she describes all the different types of little things we do every day resonates with me.
She granted me permission to share:
“I am a full scope Family Medicine Doctor. By choice. It is challenging. And frustrating. And wonderful. I AM A SPECIALIST! Every day, I try to master my skill. My skill is Empathy. My skill is Listening. Compassion. Providing reassurance. Knowing when to be concerned. Knowing when I need help interpreting labs, and when I don’t. Knowing when to refer. Sometimes that is when a patient demands it, even if I know they will be told the same thing. Knowing how to work the system, knowing how to get the worrisome ones into another specialty quickly when needed. Knowing how to wade through insurance forms and the magic words to get necessary physical therapy covered. And MY GOD getting your new wheelchair that you’ve needed since you were a child COVERED even if I have to send the forms in 3 times. My specialty is knowing how your mom’s alcoholism affects your anxiety, because you are both my patients. Knowing that you need reassurance about your cold symptoms because your 20 year old sister died of a PE. Knowing that today Mr X needs to be hospitalized because he is beyond his “normal” shortness of breath. I am a specialist at keeping people OUT of the hospital too. Even if I have to see you weekly for a month. Knowing when my normal healthy pregnancy turns into something more. Knowing when it is time to stop treating grandma’s cancer, or heart failure, or dementia. I am a specialist in humanity, and emotion. Disease and death. Living and living well. Every. Day. It is a privilege. To all my PCP momma docs out there…you are awesome at your specialty! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! You are valuable! You do the job others don’t want to do, because it is HARD! Keep your head up! You are AWESOME!”