GGSM Mini Internship: A Day in the Life of a Practicing Physician

Will Barnett is the NCMS Assistant Director for Legislative and Political Action

Each year, the Greater Greensboro Society of Medicine offers a program that gives community-leaders perspective on the day of a practicing physician.  Participants are paired with different physicians for two days.  One day is spent in a surgical practice, and the other is spent in an office-based practice.  The day is spent observing your physician-host in all the aspects of their work.

When I learned about the program, I immediately enrolled.  My experience was enlightening.

After an orientation session on Monday, I returned to Greensboro to spend the day with an orthopedic surgeon, who had three surgeries scheduled.  We discussed the balance between managing patient expectations and the physicians’ optimism for the best possible result.  Understanding the sensitivity of these situations gave me a sense of the delicate consideration that goes into caring for each individual patient.

Later in the day, my host-physician showed me his daily administrative work.  A lot of that time was spent checking “boxes,” which are all of the different places my host received communications.  There were at least six different places that he had to check, which led to a discussion about how to streamline or consolidate the different ways physicians receive information..  The rest of our time was spent responding to these communications and working in EMRs.  While my host worked on the records, we debated the effects of EMRs on physicians and patients.  My host recognized benefits of EMRs, but said the amount of administrative work required was burdensome and tedious.

On Tuesday, my time was spent in the radiology department of Moses Cone Memorial Hospital.  I learned about interventional radiology and its utilization of minimally invasive, image-guided procedures.  I observed biopsies and the placement of ports.

Observing surgical procedures, administrative processes, and listening to physicians communicate with staff gave me a new perspective of the day-to-day professional life of a practicing physician.  At times, the day was tense and stressful, but the reward of a satisfied, healthy patient outweighed those feelings in the end.  Now, through this program, I have a greater understanding of what it is like to provide medical care in today’s healthcare system.

I would recommend the program to anyone who is interested.  For more information, contact Wilma Bailess at the Greater Greensboro Society of Medicine.  She can be reached at (336) 297-1278 or [email protected].


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