While many doctors want to specialize these days, at least one future physician has his heart set on family practice medicine.
Perry Medical Clinic, over the past month, has hosted Former Auburn University and Olympic Swimmer Bryce Hunt, now a UAB medical student, for one of his rotations.
He has had the opportunity to borrow on the expertise of Drs. Brian Perry, Dr. Barton Perry and Dr. Clint Allen as well as members of the other Perry Medical Clinc staff. .
Hunt said he has enjoyed his time at Perry Medical Clinic, noting that he admires their day to day operations and their relationship with the patients.
“I am learning a lot about the population,” said Hunt. “And it is a lot different from Birmingham. In Birmingham, there is a wide range you see from the very poor to the very wealthy, people with some very exotic diseases, because UAB is such a center for health care for the entire southeast. It is just as good a place to go as Vanderbilt, Emory or any of those hospitals. So they draw all of Alabama, some in Georgia, some in Mississippi, and I think your exotic diseases are exotic for a reason. They don’t happen very often.”
“Here, you have more bread and butter what more people are dealing with,” said Hunt. “You see that a lot here at Perry Medical. I enjoy that aspect of medicine. I am more interested in what normal folks deal with every day. You have to keep your eyes open for those (exotic diseases) because they can happen to anybody, but that is not necessarily where I enjoy spending my time.”
At Perry Medical Center, one notices that physician-patient relationship when they walk through the door, Hunt said.
“The people here are all very nice and you can tell the patients that come in the door get along very well with both the nursing staff and the doctors and I think that is important,” said Hunt. “If you don’t can’t stand your doctor, you are not going to show up and that happens in some places and I don’t think that is the case here. I think they do really well.”
Hunt shared some of the qualities he feels a doctor should possess.
“I was actually having an interesting conversation with one of my classmate’s father who is a radiologist in Birmingham,” said Hunt. “He said ‘you can be competent, you can be nice, and you can be efficient. It is difficult to find somebody that is all three. If you are just two of those, you can get by, but you can’t get by with just one of them. You need to be competent, you need to know your medicine.’”
“If you are a doctor, you have got to have that,” said Hunt. “You have got to be able to get along with folks. Just being nice and being competent is not enough, you have got to be able to do that, please the patient. If you spend an hour with everybody, there is going to be a lot of people outside you are not going to be able to see, especially in a rural setting.”
“Being able to combine all those three is important for your practice,” said Hunt.
The medical profession, Hunt agreed, is facing some major challenges in coming years with the implementation of Obamacare and other concerns.
“I hear a lot about it, but in med school, I am still trying to work on that competency level,” said Hunt. “We are in school because we just don’t know until we go through the classes and then whenever we finish school and we have a residency where we continue to train. And I would be lying if I said I had it figured out already.”
“I hope that more people get health coverage, which is one of the big parts of Obamacare,” said Hunt. “I know there is a lot of concern about the cost, about taxes and all of those things and honestly I just don’t know. I think a lot of people don’t know and a lot of that apprehension is not knowing.”
“Right now I am hoping the people that have coverage extended to them will take advantage of it because even if you are healthy now, everybody has a problem at some point,” said Hunt.
“I think I will learn a whole lot more about it when I am out there in both Dr. Perrys’ or Dr. Allen’s shoes,” said Hunt. “I think it is definitely a challenge right now.”
Hunt said the patient-doctor relationship he has witnessed while doing his rotation at Perry Medical Clinic is what he hopes to have in his own practice some day.
“It is fun getting to work with both Dr. Perrys and Dr. Allen,” said Hunt. “They all have different personalities but they all get along very well with their patients and it is good to see the patient react well with the doctor. One of the things that drew me to family medicine was the fact that they established relationships with their doctors.”
“In the hospital setting, at UAB it is atypical to know the patient before you enter the room,” said Hunt. “And when I come up here, I don’t know any of the folks coming in the door until I go in the room. I will discuss what I found and what I think with both Dr. Perrys and Dr. Allen. And they will look at the name and they don’t have to look at the chart because they know. They have established that relationship. And that is what I want whenever I have my practice.”
“I want to establish the relationship with the patient,” said Hunt. “It improves your ability to help them. Sometimes it is difficult. If you meet somebody, you can walk in the room, examine them and you can try to decide. You might say, ‘I am not sure what the issue is here,’ but if you know what that person looked like, and how their health has been for the past 10 years, that is such valuable information that can really help you help the patient.”
Hunt shared some advice for those considering pursuing a career in medicine.
“I would say you definitely need to be informed, you need to look at what you want out of it,” said Hunt. “It is a very difficult road. Medical school has been more difficult academically by far than anything I have done. It is a real challenge. It can be stressful, so if you want to help people, it is a great way to do it I think through medicine. Just be prepared, it is a tough road but a rewarding one. Just make sure you are ready for it.”
“I think everyone who goes to medical school hears how hard it is and they get slapped in the face with how difficult it is,” said Hunt. “Everyone reacts in their own way so you’ve just got to be ready. But if you go for it, I say good luck. We need more family doctors and we can use you!”
Dr. Brian Perry said they enjoyed working with Hunt over the past month and that Perry Medical Clinic has participated in the medical rotation for the past 32 years they have been in business.
“We always enjoy having the students from UAB,” said Dr. Perry. “I think I learn more than they do. It is always interesting having students with fresh ideas and it updates me on some stuff too.”