Doctors are the people we think of when we’re concerned about the integral aspect of our lives that is our health. They’re the ones we turn to when we need help and they’ve gone through extensive and arduous schooling to be able to see us through that time of need. But how often do you ask your doctor about their experiences? How often do you stay after your appointment and inquire about how they ended up where they are today and why they’re there? Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Healthpointe’s own Dr. Roman Shulze about his experience as a doctor in commemoration of National Doctors’ Day.
1. What made you decide to become a doctor?
While, when I was growing up, my mother was a nurse so I was exposed to medical care at an early age. The biological sciences always interested me and in medicine, I found the profession that allowed me to pursue my interest in the biological sciences and have a chance to positively affect other people’s life.
2. When you first set your sights on becoming a doctor, did you ever second-guess your decision because of the amount of schooling? If so, what motivated you to push through?
I never had firm dedication to becoming a doctor. In college I pursued a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry because I found the field interesting. I had the opportunity to work with some brilliant professors and even publish a research paper while being an undergraduate student. My dedication was definitely to the sciences and I could easily envision myself pursuing a PhD program and doing research or becoming a professor. I love teaching interaction as well and ultimately, that is a huge part of being a good physician—teaching your patients. The amount of schooling was never intimidating. I loved seeing the students and actually was kind of sad when that part of my life ended.
3. What do you think makes a great doctor?
As I said before, an important part of being a doctor, is teaching or educating your patient. Explaining their issues and the problems are that they are facing. Then making sure they understand what the treatment entails and what the consequences are of not undergoing the treatment as well as the side effects, or possible side effects, of each treatment. Ultimately, I feel it is necessary to educate the patient enough so that we, together, can make the decision as to what course of treatment they should undertake. As one of my professors once said, “You are treating people, not diseases.”
4. What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy the interactions with patients and the opportunity to form partnerships with them that allow us to improve their quality of life. I enjoy working with our staff and being part of the team working towards the common goal of getting our patients the best possible care. I also enjoy working with many excellent specialists who are more knowledgeable than I am in certain fields and having the opportunity to learn from them.
5. Tell me about a positive experience you’ve had with a patient that stands out to you.
It is hard to take any one particular experience that I would say stands out. Several times a year, I see a patient who has not been able to obtain quality medical care. They have a chronic problem, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, which is very poorly controlled and really affecting their quality of life. Spending a little extra time in educating these patients and working with them to develop an “attack plan” against their illness so they once again have some control is huge. To then see these patients take control and really manage, and often improve, their illness very satisfying. I know that we have possibly just given them the opportunity to watch their grandchildren grow up.
6. What’s great about being a doctor here at Healthpointe?
I think that one of the best things about being a doctor here at Healthpointe is that we are given the ability to focus on patients and their care. Every doctor has certain administrative duties but these can quickly become overwhelming. None of us got into this line of work so that we can do paperwork and deal with insurers for the nitty-gritty of running a practice. Healthpointe provides the doctors the environments where many of these things are taken care of so one can really focus on the patient. We’re not perfect, but always working towards that goal.