Thursday, May 1, 2014

Just one word

Are you considering just going into primary care?  I recommend it (the field) highly, but just not that phraseology. 

It typically comes up in a seemingly well-meaning way, such as, "well, I have lots of interests... I love caring for children... not sure which fellowship I might do if any... maybe I'll just go into outpatient pediatrics."

Or, "I might just do primary care for a while until I figure out what else to do."

Or, perhaps it isn't solely a primary care thing, it might also be a pre-fellowship thing, as in, "I might just be a hospitalist and then decide whether or not to apply for a fellowship."

Admittedly, it's just one small word. But given how critical these workforce matters are, and given the tremendously beneficial impact you can have on the lives of patients and their families by choosing these career paths and giving it your all, try to reserve the word "just" for times when you are using it to mean... social justice!

Just a tip.

For more on the joys of primary care pediatrics, see this link


  1. Hi Dr. Kind,

    My name is Ashley and I’m a 4th year medical student here in Philly and an avid follower of your blog as. This post caught my attention today, because even though I’m still early in pursuing my career in pediatrics, I have too often heard the slightly demotivated intonation of “just” going into primary care.

    However, I write to you today with uplifting news. I am one of the four medical students at Drexel to do an MBA this year, and by the end of it, three of the four of us have enthusiastically chosen to pursue primary care for our careers. The possible change? The baffled look from our business peers and new circles when we told them we were “just” going into medicine or pediatrics. The phraseology “just becoming a hospitalist” or “just going to be do outpatient” was always followed with humor, confusion or comments like “You’re going to be just a doctor? We need more people like you.”

    What hit me most this year was how much my peers connected with us in our journey to become primary care doctors. Too often the conversation would begin with, “well my pediatrician for my kids…” or “my family doc told me…” The need and the impact for “just primary care” doctors have become ever so clear and real to me.

    You were right Dr. Kind, it’s just one small word. And yet, its use in my own life has lead to baffled looks of empowerment and encouragement that have helped me to my path today.

    Thank you for your tips for reflection and your inspiring words that have moved me more than you know.

  2. Thanks for sharing that story Ashley, that is fascinating that a few of you at Drexel find yourselves on the MD + MBA = primary care pathway!

    Glad you are finding these posts helpful. Consider submitting a guest post sometime, to PediatricCareer at childrensnational dot org