Q: Outside of patient care, what about your job interests you the most?
A: Quality and patient safety are of great interest for me. Our hospitalist group consists of about 25 hospitalists, but there are about 200 hospitalists within our health system. I participate in a steering committee within the larger system to improve medication reconciliation.
I also continue to be interested in leadership. Especially in the years to come, with all the upcoming changes in the delivery of care, performance measures, and modes of reimbursement, there will be an increased need for physician leaders.
Q: What is your biggest professional challenge?
A: It is a good sign that I have to think for a while to come up with an answer. It probably is taking care of patients with narcotic addictions or difficult personalities. Every given week there are probably one or two such patients on the service. It is challenging to do these patients justice and to provide the appropriate medical care.
Q: What is your biggest professional reward?
A: The respect of my physician colleagues, the nursing staff, and the gratitude of my patients and their families. One of my most moving experiences was when a former patient of mine walked over to my table in a Chinese restaurant and said: “Thank you for saving my life!”
Q: You were one of the first hospitalists designated Fellow in Hospital Medicine. What does that mean to you?
A: It gave me some formal recognition for the years of service I have put into HM, both in patient care and leadership, as well as for my level of experience.
Q: When you aren’t working, what is important to you?
A: The relationships with the people around me (marriage, family, friendship). In terms of what I do, it is traveling, exercising, reading, and being appreciative of the moment.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: I want to continue to work as a hospitalist. I am looking into leadership opportunities. I can see shifting my focus more toward leadership or consulting roles again within the next 10 years.
Q: If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be doing right now?
A: I think I would be a lawyer. I know there is a perceived friction between these professions, but there are some common themes, such as providing expert advice or professional help in times of need.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
A: The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It is an incredibly captivating story, with a marvelous imagery of old Barcelona before the Spanish Civil War.
Q: How many Apple products do you interface with in a given week?
A: Two: iPhone and iPad.
Richard Quinn is a freelance writer in New Jersey.