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Day in the Life

posted Aug 6, 2015, 11:20 AM by Explore More   [ updated Aug 6, 2015, 11:22 AM ]
     Coffee - Check.
   Nalgene bottle - Check.
   Fistful of snacks - Check.
   Breast pump supplies - Check. 

Kisses on the cheeks to my family and out the door I run. 

In early 2014, the rest of my residency class was signing their contracts and figuring out what life would be like sans crazy duty hours and residency drama. I, on the other hand, felt lost and unsure of what to do.

Since as long as my mom can remember, I've wanted to be a Family Medicine physician. And as long as I can remember, I've wanted to own my own practice.

Unfortunately, now that the time was here to finally be a licensed independent physician, I wasn't ready to open the practice. Several things had happened including negotiations falling through - and I had to start thinking about alternatives.

In addition, my husband and I found out in June we were pregnant. I didn't want to sign a three-year agreement with a practice because I still wanted to work on opening my doors as soon as I could. I needed a job that had flexible hours and flexible contract. My program director suggested working at a local urgent care in the interim.

That's the beauty of Family Medicine. You’re trained for a variety of career paths. In my last few months of residency, I spent my free time in the ED practicing procedures, making sure I was ready to go on my first day. So I started looking and found a small company with a few locations in my city.

So off I went as an independent contractor. Patient flow (and obviously presenting problems) changes with the season.

I have now been doing urgent care for 12 months and every day is different. I work 12-hour shifts most days and 3-4 days a week.

When I sign off on my last chart for the day, I can leave for home knowing there's no call. Because the provider at the clinic the next day will follow up on labs, I don't have to stress about it.

I do miss the continuity that I had in residency, but I do have some. I noticed many patients, especially the 20-30 year olds, use the urgent care as their PCP. 

I take care of their whole family, and even though I never thought I would get to have the patient relationships in an urgent care setting.


It’s Monday morning, and typically a busy day for me as the solo provider on my 12-hour shift. 

The morning got off to a quick start with five patients waiting out front for us to open.  Some mornings I don’t see a patient for a few hours, and others we hit the ground running – like today. 

By the end of the day, I’ll see on average 30-40 patients and during flu season that number can increase to the 60s. 

Today I started with a runner who had fallen and had several abrasions and an ankle fracture. 

I suture up her laceration and dress the other abrasions, interpret her X-rays (a radiologist overreads them though), splinted her ankle and counseled her on rehab exercises and supportive care. 

As the day rolls along, I did several other laceration repairs, drained an abscess, interpreted a few more X-rays, and treated many acute illness cases.  I have sent two patients to the ED for further evaluation, one of which was admitted for further observation and the other sent home. 

Some days I have time to get some reading in, and other days I have to force myself to sit down and eat a snack because we get so busy. My job is definitely different from my residency classmates, but I find it quite satisfying and challenging at the same time. 

At the end of my 12- hour shift, I am exhausted and ready to head home to spend time with my newborn little girl. Managing life with a new baby as a female physician, well that’s an entirely different topic for another day. 

 

Anastasia is a practicing physician at City Doc Urgent Care in Dallas, Texas and mother to a 4-month old daughter, Braelyn.