Q: You’ve said you see being a chief quality officer in the future. Why? What appeals about those C-suite positions?
A: I think that physicians as leaders are in a great position to drive the change within a healthcare organization toward high-value care. We are at the front line, at the bedside taking care of patients. That gives us firsthand information on what needs to be done. With appropriate training, we can be the executives the institution needs. When I started my role as medical director, initially I focused mainly on managing the group, but rapidly I was involved in several quality projects and academic activities. And soon I realized that I can have a broader impact on what I was doing, going beyond the bedside where you try to offer the best care possible for your patients to an organizational level of change.
Q: How has your journey from Nicaragua to the U.S. shaped you, and how has it shaped the way you practice medicine?
A: Certainly it shaped what I am today, coming from a country that struggles with poverty. During medical school, you lack advances in technology and depend mainly on your desire to excel and be better for the benefit of your patients. You build strong clinical skills from history to physical exam. When you move to the U.S. and have access to so many technological advances, from new diagnostic tests to top-of the-line imaging studies, you combine the best of both worlds, and [that] makes you a better physician. I am very proud of my heritage, and definitely I wouldn’t change anything on my path thus far. I believe the more you overcome difficulties and adversities, the more you appreciate what you accomplished.
Q: As a group leader, why is it important for you to continue seeing patients?
A: We lead our teams by example, and that requires treating patients. I am also a clinician, and I love my profession, so I don’t foresee myself only in an administrative role. Finding the sweet spot of clinician-administrative time is very difficult, and I am still working on it.
Q: What’s the best advice you ever received?
A: Read and learn every day, be good to people, and also dream big.
Q: What’s the worst advice you ever received?
A: Never get married. I didn’t listen.
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.