Family Medicine Physicians Speak Out on Burnout and Resilience

A 'Passion' for Family Medicine

Karen L. Smith, MD, FAAFP

Disclosures

September 06, 2017

Editorial Collaboration

Medscape &

Editor's note: Dr Smith has been named the American Academy of Family Physicians 2017 Family Physician of the Year. You can learn more about her practice here.

Medical practice for me has been a wonderful profession, and I am glad to be a family physician. For 26 years, we have had to develop strategies so that I could continue to practice in one location—a rural community—as a solo physician. Many times, I'm asked, "How could you do this?"

It's the passion in practice which allows me to maintain my professional integrity and the joy of the practice of medicine.

It's the passion that I have for the practice of family medicine. I have noted so many different activities through the years that allow me that passion, that keep me involved and invigorated, and that keep the enthusiasm of the day-to-day activities of taking care of patients.

We deal with so many issues: psychosocial, economic, political. But when all is said and done, all of that comes together in the exam room with the patient-physician relationship. The passion for family medicine is what drives me. The passion for family medicine is what prevents burnout. The passion for family medicine is what allows me to be engaged with my colleagues on a state and a national level.

At the same time, we take that same passion to Washington, DC, when we meet with our legislators and we let them know what people are looking for in healthcare. Healthcare is a basic right for every individual in this world, but we start with our little piece right there in Raeford, North Carolina. It's the passion for family practice which allows me to maintain my professional integrity and the joy of the practice of medicine.

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