When did you decide that Internal Medicine was a fitting specialty for yourself?
After graduating from PA school in 2013, I began my career in orthopedic surgery. I was very drawn to orthopedics as a student on my clinical rotations. I think it was because orthopedics involves a lot of visual analysis and I happen to be a visual learner. Interpreting radiographs is fun once you get a hang of all the subtleties and the corresponding treatment plans.
I had the opportunity to work with some of the best orthopedic surgeons in central Florida and gained a lot of valuable experience. In this particular orthopedic group, we were on-call for several emergency departments in the area so there was a very high volume of patients that we were responsible for. By the end of my second year with the group I decided I wanted to switch gears and join a primary care practice. Within internal medicine I enjoy establishing rapport with patients and focusing more on patient education.
What is a day in your shoes like at work?
A typical day starts at 8 am at my downtown Orlando office. I see mostly geriatric patients and manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. We get along great; I often feel like I’m chatting with my grandparents. Patients can sense when you’re in a rush or focusing too much on an EMR, so I try my best to focus all of my attention on the patient’s concerns during a visit. Basically, I avoid poor rapport:
Do you feel being an artist helps you conceptualize conditions to patients when you are discussing their health?
I’ve recently begun sharing my artwork with some of my patients and they love it. It’s always interesting to present information in a way that captures someone’s attention, especially when they may have otherwise ignored it. It’s very rewarding to be able to use the artwork as a tool for the patient’s benefit. Being an artist certainly helps me to conceptualize conditions in my mind and explain them better during the visit as well.
Do you have any words of encouragement for physician assistant (PA) entrepreneurs?
It’s exciting to be a part of the growing PA community. As a profession we should branch out and extend our reach into different industries including business, art, film, music, and the general media. I encourage us to continue to be great healthcare providers and innovators in different fields.
With any entrepreneurial endeavor, I think it’s important to take a step back and analyze if you’re doing it for the right reasons. If it’s purely for the money, then it’s going to be a hard road for you. There has to be a spark of passion first and then you can translate that into a product or service for people to enjoy.
What are some of your most favorite aspects of being an Internal Medicine physician assistant (PA)?
One of the reasons I enjoy being a PA is because it involves a commitment to life-long learning. There will always be something new to read about. There will always be ways to find personal and professional growth within this profession. I was a Biology major in college and I love science so this is a good fit for me.
Being an internal medicine PA has also allowed me to appreciate the importance of bedside manner and establishing trust with patients. Compassion is often more effective than a quick Z-pack. I’ve been told by many patients that they feel better just by having a conversation with me in the room. It’s important to be mindful of this influence as we practice the art of medicine.
About Jorge Muniz:
Jorge began creating educational cartoons at Nova Southeastern University’s PA program in Orlando, FL. He is the author and illustrator of Medcomic: The Most Entertaining Way to Study Medicine. His artwork is utilized by university professors all around the world to engage students in the classroom and compliment conventional educational materials. Jorge regularly posts new illustrations at Medcomic.com.