A loose definition of a family is a group of people going through the world together. Family isn’t always blood. It can simply be the people in your life who support and care for you.
I wrote an editorial about my work family in the April 2019 issue of the BCMJ titled “Langley City family practice” [2019;61:106]. Considering my current situation, I thought it was time to revisit this topic and give credit where credit is due.
In that editorial I talked about how blessed I was to work with such fine individuals. I also encouraged physicians who are starting out to choose their work colleagues wisely as they will be your family for many years to come.
Reaffirming the excellent choice I made is demonstrated in the way I have been supported by my colleagues since my wife became ill. The practical help I received without complaint or question I can never repay. The physicians in my office immediately covered my on-call duties and hospital rounds. I asked once and it was done. Taking this load off my plate was a huge relief and allowed me to focus on what needed to be done for my wife. They also took care of my patients when I had to suddenly take time off as no locum was available on short notice. The added emotional support they have given overwhelms me at times and often brings me to tears. They have my back and listen with compassion and caring when I need to vent about the apparent unfairness of it all.
Our group practice has grown to seven physicians, and I would like to give a shout out to our two newest family members. There is a lot of talk about the next generation of physicians being less interested in running a busy full-service family practice. They are often accused of being less hardworking than the generations before. Nothing could be further from the truth as our most recent family physician members are better than me in so many ways. They are smart, compassionate, and hardworking. They have built excellent successful practices from the ground up and are admired by their patients and our medical community alike. Nothing is beyond their capability, and I am so thankful that they have joined our practice family. The future is in good hands with these two.
Often underrecognized in medical practices but no less deserving of praise is the staff. I would like to thank ours for their support during this challenging time. I try and let them know how much I appreciate them, but I don’t think they realize the extent of my admiration. They are a part of my extended family and many of them I have known for years, of which the last few have been particularly difficult being on the front lines of our office during the COVID pandemic. I am sure this increased stress has taken a toll on them and has affected their personal lives and families. Despite this, they consistently show up with kind smiles, ready to face another challenging day.
So, when it comes to my work family, I am so thankful for all of them and want to acknowledge all that they mean to me. If a good quality of life is about finding a happy balance between work, friends, and family, then I am truly blessed as I have all three in the same place.
—David R. Richardson, MD
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