March 1st marks the 3rd anniversary of McGilligan MD. I can honestly say that opening this practice was the best career decision I’ve made. McGilligan MD has allowed me to be the doctor I always wanted to be and has allowed my patients to re-experience a doctor-patient relationship where we have actually spent enough time together to build up the trust necessary to really help people.
When I decided at the age of 12 that I wanted to be a doctor, I envisioned practicing like my small town doctors practiced. They knew their patients, spent time talking with their patients, and seemed to enjoy their work. Medical school reinforced the doctor-patient relationship. Medical students are typically able to spend the most time with patients taking very thorough histories and thinking about what might be the cause of a patient’s symptoms.
Right after residency, when I started practicing in a hospital-owned practice, I was building my patient panel and had more time to dig deep and get to know patients and think about their symptoms. As the years went by, I was no longer allotted the necessary time with my patients. I know my patients noticed. Visits in these types of practices are always rushed and often patients spend more time with the medical assistant than they do with the doctor. I started to feel like I worked on an assembly line or like I was a medicine robot. I hated not being able to spend time with my patients and being rushed. I know the patients weren’t happy.
At the age of 35, I knew I couldn’t continue to practice that way for another 30 years. It was on a family vacation in North Carolina, during a long walk on the beach with my husband, that McGilligan MD went from being a vague concept to an actual plan. I put my notice in at my hospital practice that following weekend and we got to work on building our dream.
Owning and running a business is obviously not a walk in the park, but even though at times it can be stressful (pandemic anyone?), it is a fun kind of stress. It is a problem solving kind of stress…the kind that refreshes me.
I have truly enjoyed spending more time with my patients over these past three years. It has become a community even more so than a practice. When my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2019, my patients treated me not just like their doctor, but like their friend. They prayed, sent good thoughts to the universe, and simply made me feel loved.
I’ve learned so much from my patients and have curated a stellar staff. Thank you, patients and staff members, for an excellent three years. I look forward to decades more.