“There’s got to be a better way…” This is the mantra I kept repeating to myself in 2022. I would see one of my patients, and they would say, “you’ve gotten so busy!” or “You’re a hard doctor to get a hold of. Then I would reflexively double book appointments and force patients in the 8 hour work day to try to fit more patients in. “There, that will fix it”. Then I would have to find a kind way to abruptly cut the patient off or rush through explanations to move on to the second 9:45 appointment. I hated rushing. I’m type A and a perfectionist but I was willing to sacrifice being on time to provide quality care for my patients. So I slowed down. I listened, I thoroughly explained, I was thoughtful about my patients care. The patients chastised, “You’re really late!” And those were the nice ones.
I started to feel lost. I asked my colleagues what to do and they kept saying it would get better. It would get inevitably get worse and I started to ask if medicine was really for me. I thought, "Maybe I'm just not cutting it. Maybe I am just not good at this." I started to lean on my black female physician sisterhood virtually and started meeting them in real life. I got a physician coach because I really needed help figuring out why I felt like I was consistently failing at my job.
The healthcare system does not reward compassion and listening. It rewards productivity. There are some amazing physicians who can produce and provide compassion with efficiency so that they can see 20-30 patients per day.
And what my physician coach helped me realize is I don’t want to. Direct primary care allows me to see less patients, have longer visits, and practice true shared decision making without insurance playing a role in my medical decision making. The patient pays a flat, affordable fee once a month for unlimited visits, increased access to their personal doctor and enjoys the convenience of same day or next day availability. Of course, insurance is still helpful in catastrophic care, but otherwise the patient is often paying a $20-50 copay for a 5-10 minute visit that they had to wait weeks for.
I wanted to be a part of a change. Someone asked me what my values were a few years ago and I really honed in on that answer. I am choosing to align my life with my values. How do you plan to choose your better way? Is it by taking 30 mins once a week to get unadulterated sunshine? Is it by trying a Zumba class? Cooking more fresh vegetables? Finding a therapist? Being nicer to yourself? Join me in choosing a better way to live this life.
Want to become apart of a better way to do healthcare? Book your meet and greet here! https://stephanieagyemang.setmore.com/stephanieagyemang.