If Geeta Arora, MD, were to purchase a personalized license plate, it probably would say something like “B3ACHNUT” or “SURF5UP.” Like many in the profession, she enjoys traveling and helping others. She’s a surfer girl, with a love of the beach and a heart for global medicine. And if given the chance, she says she’d rather be “selling coconuts on a beach” in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, or some other island paradise.
As a locum tenens hospitalist, Dr. Arora is based in New York City, but is licensed to practice in six states. In addition to her board certification in internal medicine, she also is board certified in integrative holistic medicine, something she hopes to expand on in coming years. She’s also active in telemedicine, providing outpatient consulting via phone or video chat with MDLive since 2014.
Dr. Arora, one of eight new members of Team Hospitalist, the volunteer editorial advisory board for The Hospitalist, had published a number of “Letters to the Editor” in SHM’s official newsmagazine prior to her application. The article topics were close to her heart, of course, with headlines reading “How Locums Tenens Can Help Avoid Burnout” and “5 Tips to Finding a Good Locum Tenens Company.” In fact, she recently was one of the interviewees for a TH video focused on working as a locum tenens hospitalist.
Dr. Arora recently stepped away from her busy schedule to chat with The Hospitalist:
Question: Why did you choose a career in medicine?
Answer: I wanted the opportunity to be present with people in some of the most vulnerable times in their lives and be able to help them when they are most vulnerable.
Q: How/when did you decide to become a hospitalist?
A: I decided to become a hospitalist as soon as I graduated residency.
Q: I see you completed undergrad at University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Tell us about your medical training. Was there a single moment you knew “I can do this”?
A: I went to medical school [at the Medical University of the Americas] in the Caribbean on an island called Nevis. My residency was at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y. I disliked the politics of residency. I remember thinking, “I can do this,” in my third year of residency when I had just run two codes and was placing lines in a patient in the middle of the night on my own. I was surprised to find myself without any feeling of doubt in my mind as I placed the lines.
Q: What do you like most about working as a hospitalist?
A: I really enjoy the flexibility of my schedule and the large range of disease processes I see in a single day.
Q: What do you dislike most?
A: The immense amount of paperwork and the constant feeling of having administration trying to tell hospitalists how to do their job.
Q: As a hospitalist, seeing most of your patients for the very first time, what aspect of patient care is most challenging?
A: The most challenging part of patient care, for me, is changing the plan of the previous provider. For example, if the physician that had been seeing the patient prior to me had promised that a CT scan would be repeated, but there is no indication, that often turns into a lengthy discussion with the patient and the patient’s family. And that can sometimes be challenging.
Q: What’s the best advice you ever received?
A: As long as you are doing everything in the best interest of your patient, you are doing the right thing.
Q: What’s the worst advice you ever received?
A: Always practice defensive medicine because, if you don’t, you will get sued.
Q: Have you tried to mentor others? Why or why not?
A: I have mentored several medical students because I feel it is important to give back to the next generation.
Q: What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in HM in your career?
A: More paperwork.
Q: What’s the biggest change you would like to see in HM?
A: Decreasing paperwork.
Q: What aspect of patient care is most rewarding?
A: Connecting with patients.
Q: What is your biggest professional challenge?
A: Leaving a hospital because of poor administrative processes, especially when the hospitalist group is excellent to work with.
Q: What is your biggest professional reward?
A: Being able to work with and learn from other hospitalists.
Q: Outside of patient care, tell us about your career interests.
A: I have a passion for locum tenens hospitalist medicine. I enjoy practicing in different types of communities across the country, and I enjoy teaching others to do the same. I also enjoy consulting hospitals about how to improve their hospitalist systems. Telemedicine platform consultation has also become one of my interests.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Q: What’s next professionally?
A: I enjoy practicing global medicine. My next destination is Cambodia in October. I’d like to increase the number of global medicine trips I do per year. I also have a very strong interest in integrative holistic medicine and am excited about expanding my practice in the coming year.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read recently? Why?
A: Fortify Your Life, a book about supplements.
Q: How many Apple products (phones, iPods, tablets, iTunes, etc.) do you interface with in a given week?
A: iPhone and MacBook on a daily basis.
Q: What impact do you feel devices like those just mentioned have had on HM? And medicine in a broader sense?
A: I use them for electronic health records.
Q: What’s your favorite social network? Do you use it at all for work or professional development?
A: Instagram, but not for work.
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.