October Member Spotlight | Pam Ahearn, MD, FAAFP Member Status: (Active, Resident, Student)
Where are you currently working or attending school?
I am majority owner of Lakeside Family Medicine in Kingston, OK. I am also employed by the Veteran’s Administration as Medical Director in the Home Based Primary Care program caring for veterans who live in 7 counties in Texas and 2 counties in OK.
How long have you been within the OAFP community?
I have been active in the OAFP since my first days of medical school at OU in 1991.
Why did you choose family medicine? What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career or education?
I chose Family Medicine because I personally share the values which the practice of Family Medicine embraces, I enjoy working with and helping people of all ages, and I enjoy treating illnesses from any and all body systems and promoting health maintenance and healthy lifestyles.
I have had many fulfilling moments in my Family Medicine career. I have had the opportunity to work in many settings of Family Medicine simultaneously, including outpatient Family Medicine, inpatient Family Medicine, and Emergency Medicine. Early on in my career, I included obstetrics in my practice as well. I have numerous stories of lives saved in the ER, in the hospital and in my office. These, of course, are some of the most fulfilling moments of my career. One example I will site is that of a patient that I treated in our local ER. The gentleman had been working on a ladder and sustained a fall which caused a laceration of his trachea, threatening his life. With the help of ER staff and EMS in getting the patient to us in a timely manner, we were able to get the patient intubated early and get him flown to a hospital with a higher level of care and save his life. I have seen him periodically since that time, though he does not live in the community, and he always seeks me out and gives me a hug and praise for saving his life. This is very fulfilling. However, the relationships developed with my patients, even ones whose lives I may not have saved but hopefully helped to improve, are my most fulfilling moments of all.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your practice or education?
The most challenging aspect that I have faced in Family Medicine has been the administrative one. It has been a fight to get payed for what I do while being burdened with a mountain of administrative issues such as EMRs, charting, coding, and jumping through many hoops.
What is your work life balance like & how do you achieve it?
My work life balance has not always been good, honestly, but it now is. I have achieved this balance by limiting my work to outpatient medicine only. Prior to the COVID19 pandemic, I was able to be more social, but I still assure that I get plenty of time with family while observing appropriate pandemic precautions.
Who is your biggest role model?
My father was my biggest role model. He passed away in 1995. He was a hard-working, honest, selfless, Christian man and a servant of others. He instilled those values in me by his example. He taught me that I could do anything that I wished to attempt. I give him a lot of credit for my successes to this date.
What is your favorite quote?
Phillipians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I enjoy vacationing with my adult children and my sister. My children and I enjoy Disney World vacations. My children, my sister, and I enjoy our visits to the beach in South Carolina annually, except for this pandemic year.
Any advice for residents and students finishing their training or education?
Advocate for your patients, yourselves and your colleagues by becoming involved with the AAFP and your state chapter. Do your best to maintain a good work life balance. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Enjoy those relationships that you develop with your patients.