Interview with an MD
Like many college students, I am not entirely sure what I want to do with my future. Even when I come up with an idea it usually changes within a month or so. Even though my career goals have been varying, however, I do know for certain that I want to graduate from medical school. In these past couple of years working towards a pre medicine degree, I have learned that gaining acceptance into a medical school is notably challenging and often times stressful. For instance, the CU Medical School in Denver receives over four thousand applicants a year, yet only has enough space for two hundred students. For that reason, those that gain admission and go forward to become doctors are prestigious and hardworking candidates.
In order for me to grasp a better understanding of how to be a competitive applicant for med school, I have been shadowing and talking directly to doctors. One of these doctors is my family practitioner, Dr. Lindy Gilchrist at DTC Family Health. Three days ago, I interviewed her, asking questions regarding what she does specifically on a regular day as well as how she communicates with other doctors and certain challenges she is often times faced with regarding communication.
In this interview, my first question for Dr. Gilchrist was regarding her job responsibilities. In her reply she told me, “I see patients everyday from two years of age up to 100. I see patients if they have a concern about something that has just come up, or see them for a physical or chronic care such as high blood pressure and diabetes”.
One I had a clear understanding about her job description; I then ask Dr. Gilchrist questions regarding how she communicates with other doctors. What I learned from her response was of the importance of her capability to contact specialty doctors if her patients had specific illnesses she couldn’t address. Dr. Gilchrist informed me that often times, doctors of certain specialties were responsive about her patient’s conditions, however, at other times they can become too busy to reach through phone or email making her job even more challenging.
Another significant aspect of communication, which is important to her career, is keeping contact with her patients. At DTC Family Health, they have a patient portal system where every patient had a personal pin number in order to access previous and upcoming appointments, lab results, current vitals, and messages from their physicians. After a patient submits a message to their doctor or has a test done, their doctors write back to them within two days. At this point in the interview, Dr. Gilchrist told me, “Writing takes up a large amount of my day for sure. It is an important part of my career as I also write many personal notes on the patients I see throughout the day.”
Normally when talking to doctors about their careers, they inform me about the types of patients they see or the treatments and medications they prescribe everyday. However, after this interview, I walked away with a deeper understanding of they types of communication within the medical field. As with many careers, good communication is important. However from what I learned about working in the medical field was that communication is a necessity. Every day, physicians write personal notes about their patients, read and write emails to other doctors and patients, and are obligated to keep up on latest findings by reading research documents and publications. Most importantly, doctors are required to communicate efficiently with their patients in order to inform them about their health and what they can do to improve their well being. This implies taking complicated topics such as diabetes or high blood pressure and explaining it in a manner that is understandable to the general public. In my project, I plan to take this concept and apply it to a field of medicine I am interested in- sleep physiology. Like patients, many people want to know how to better their health, which includes how to fall asleep faster and longer. For my project, I will take the topic of sleep and write to the general public about the physiology behind it as well as how to overcome sleeping disorders in a manner that it understandable to those who may not be familiar with the science.