I find primary care medicine to be a very difficult and unsatisfying place to be these days. After 30-plus years in the field, I have retired.
Taking care of patients has always been more focused on the patient, not the medical records and rules that are being shoved down our throats. Involving patients in their health care and helping them achieve a higher quality of life have been of utmost importance to me. This obviously is no longer what is emphasized in health care today.
Now and then
When I started as a primary care provider years ago, I delivered my patients’ babies, admitted patients to the hospital and held the hands of my dying patients. I also did a variety of procedures.
At the end of my career, I was forced to see patients every 20 minutes, use a complex medical records system and stay up late at home to complete electronic medical records. I no longer delivered patients, and did minimal medical procedures. I also worked with a midlevel provider who felt she did the same thing as me and was angry she earned less money than me.
In addition, I learned painfully that my male counterparts had the same job as me but earned more money than me! Apparently, this is a problem nationwide.
I can no longer work in this awful/broken system. I am heartbroken I no longer see patients. I no longer fit in the field of medicine as it exists today. My patients are sad I am no longer in practice and still reach out to me.
I know I am not the only physician out there who feels this way. Society still needs us, but the corporate world doesn’t want providers like me. And it is not cost-effective to own my own practice anymore.
I hope something can be done to make primary care medicine great again. It is probably too late for me.