There are a lot of things to complain about in primary care. Catch me on a bad day and I’ll be one of the first to name some of the issues I face daily.
But, there are also a lot of great things about being a primary care doctor, and expressing gratitude is important.
Here are the top 5 things I love about being a primary care doctor:
1. I truly look forward to seeing many of my patients. Yes, having several thousand patients on my panel is far too many, but I do feel lucky to get to know many of them and truthfully enjoy many of our meetings.
2. I get to take people off of medications. Many people come to me on a long list of medications. Some may be needed long-term, but some can often be discontinued once we work on addressing underlying causes.
3. I get to talk a lot about food as medicine. Our food and lifestyle choices have the power to lead to disease or to optimize health, and I see people reverse diabetes, lower blood pressure, and improve cholesterol levels without medication.
4. I get to see a newborn and 97 year old in the same day. Being the doctor for people through all phases of life means moving from infant development to erectile dysfunction to menopause to depression to end of life care all in one afternoon. It doesn’t get boring and I’m always learning something.
5. I get to see the big picture. Healthcare these days is frustratingly fragmented with doctors assigned to each body part or organ. But as the family doc, I pull together the constellation of symptoms, specialist input, studies done, and patient goals and desires to help come up with an overarching plan towards better health.