As many of you know (and some of you may not know) I cut back last year to 0.6 FTE (down to 3 days a week, basically). As part of that cutting back, I gave up rounding on our residency’s Maternal Newborn Pediatric Service (MNPS) in the hospital and stopped doing deliveries. I still supervise residents providing prenatal care at our residency clinic, but I no longer supervise residents caring for women during labor, attend deliveries, or provide care after deliveries to the postpartum mothers and their newborns. This blog post is a look back on many years of providing pregnancy and newborn care, which has been a major focus of my career, and looks forward to new challenges and opportunities in the field of family medicine.
Yes, there has been some grieving as I have given up an area of practice that I love. I am still fiercely supportive of family physicians providing pregnancy and newborn care. I have been honored to participate in the joyous celebrations of the birth of healthy babies and the crushing sadness after a stillbirth. I continue to feel that there is no physician better positioned than the family physician to provide care that is often continuous from pre-conception care to prenatal care to delivery to the subsequent care of postpartum mother and newborn to the pediatric care of that child and their mother. The care that we provide in these areas embodies the importance of the care we provide to the whole family.
The great thing about family medicine is that with career transitions come new challenges and opportunities. In the past, I did prenatal chart reviews to help us to provide the best quality care possible to our pregnant patients. Now I will be shifting exclusively to the outpatient side of family medicine, with an emphasis on providing the best preventive care possible to our clinic patients. There is still a focus on quality but now I am focused on providing quality preventive care. As many of you know, keeping up on all the preventive care guidelines is very challenging. Even more challenging is implementing those guidelines in the clinic setting in a meaningful way that improves the health of an entire population. I have found that changing my personal practice habits in a way that improves my preventive care is a struggle. Even more difficult will be influencing change in the practice habits of our entire staff in a way that improves the care we provide. I will let you know how it goes!
This transition reminded me that there are so many areas of family medicine to choose from: not only pregnancy care, pediatric care, and preventive medicine but also sports medicine, geriatrics, adolescent medicine, women’s health, hospital medicine, emergency care, and global health (I am sure I am missing a few more). It is a big part of what makes our specialty so desirable: You never get bored!
I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to be so involved in pregnancy, newborn, and pediatric care over the years. I look forward to new challenges and opportunities as my career takes a new turn.