Where are you currently working or attending school? Faculty member at Great Plains Medicine Residency
How long have you been within the OAFP community? Started as a medical student member (so 30+ years!)
Why did you choose family medicine? It was what I understood a doctor to be. My experience with medicine was seeing my family doctor. So when i decided to go to med school, I loved all my experiences (except for time in the OR). I remember being on an orthopedic rotation and the resident called a consult for an internist to manage the patients blood pressure. I understand now why the patient should be grateful for the orthopedist getting the consult, but at the time I remember wondering why they didn't just treat it, they were doctors after all. So that would be me: The doctor who wanted to be there and take care of all those things for his patients. I am still providing care in both the clinic and the hospital.
What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career or education? Several things come to mind
1) delivering babies is such a joy, but i remember when I first delivered a child of a patient that I had also delivered. A very neat experience though it reminded me of how long I have been in practice in order to get such an experience.
2) I referred a patient to oncology due to a diagnosis of breast cancer. She came back after the consultation and wanted to make sure I agreed with the recommended treatment before she started Chemo. It was a reminder of what a great honor I have to be a Family Physician and the trust patients place in their doctor.
3) I also get a great reward working with resident physicians. Seeing a doctor progress from uncertain to comfortable, from wary about a procedure to eagerly teaching that same procedure to a medical student or fellow resident, and from uncertain in their first times on call to confidently starting their own practice. Very cool to see someone mature as a physician.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your practice or education? Balancing patient care and teaching and military service with family time and involvement in my church and involvement in the OAFP and AAFP. My job as faculty at a residency has given me some flexibility that I might not have in private practice, but mainly I have been blessed with practice partners who agree that we need to help each other pursue the things that bring meaning to our lives and I am blessed and fortunate to share my practice with docs who have graciously supported me in my pursuits and activities.
What is your work life balance like & how do you achieve it? My faith and family are crucial for having balance in my life. I am a husband and father who happens to be a doctor. Medicine sometimes interferes, but I make family activities and worship times priorities. Good partners are key to this for sharing call/covering when needs come up but this mindset has helped me keep my joy for medicine over all these years.
Who is your biggest role model? Jesus Christ. I fail so often to live and act in ways that please him but my goal each day is to imitate God and reflect Christ to those around me.
What is your favorite quote?
Do you want to impress people or influence people? You can impress from a distance, but to influence, you must be close and personally involved in their lives. - Don Demeter
Sorrows and calamities are not an obstacle to success, but a way to succeed. - John Piper
What do you like to do when you’re not working? Spend time with my wife and kids and our dog. Now that our kids are grown and moving out, Shannon and I like to travel and anxiously await the end of the pandemic to make travel easier.
Any advice for residents and students finishing their training or education? Try new things. It doesn't matter if it seems interesting or not, it doesn't matter if you plan to do it/use it in your practice or not. Now is the time to learn and experience and gain skills and perspective, so try new things, ask questions, get involved with things that matter to you and your patients. That last is how I connected most with the OAFP as a new physician and I have learned many things and been able to work with some amazing doctors and make a difference in the delivery of care in Oklahoma.