by Charles White
Some may call what I have recently done a mid-life crisis. It all started about two years ago. While attending my ten year residency class reunion, I again recalled some of the experiences that I enjoyed during residency. Many of my classmates were now teaching at the residency program from which we graduated and were enjoying continued learning, teaching bright young residents, and participating in family practice at its full scope. This made me stop and evaluate my practice of medicine and where I really wanted to be professionally and personally.
I was in a private, solo practice for the past eight years. While I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom and the opportunities that brought, I still felt there was something missing in my practice of family medicine. In order to be in a solo practice, I had given up maternity care and, to a large extent, pediatric care, due to the costs associated with those. Additionally, it was becoming more difficult to deal with insurance companies and employees. I was spending more time at work and less time at home with my family. I felt the need to change.
While contemplating my desire for life changes, I came across an advertised opportunity with the University of Utah Family Medicine Residency. I applied for a faculty position and was fortunate enough to interview with the department. The interview process went well. I knew immediately that this was a group with whom I wanted to be associated. There was energy, knowledge, a sense of community, and a sense of purpose which I needed in my professional life. There were opportunities to practice full scope family medicine, yet a feeling that I could pursue some of my other medical interests. There were also many advantages for my personal life, including the ability to spend more time with my family.
Now I am a faculty member with the family medicine residency. It is much of what I expected. I feel more like a family physician than I did before. Teaching and learning from the residents and the other faculty is invigorating. The sense of community and belonging is all that I expected. I will always be grateful for the time I spent in private practice, I feel that it gave me a good foundation in some aspects of medicine that I would not have otherwise explored. My mid-life crisis, however, has led me to where I need to be.
Charles White, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Univ of Utah Family Medicine Residency