It’s a late 1930’s afternoon. My general practice physician father still has five patients to examine. His own family is waiting to go out to dinner and then to take in a double feature at the local theatre. Looks like they’ll make only the second movie, a John Wayne western.
Eighty years later front line family practice medicine has been transformed. Here at Carolina Meadows health care is a team project. Nurse practitioners, backed up by physicians, take care of routine medical needs, allowing the MDs on staff to provide additional time for residents with more complicated issues.
When a new patient is seen by a nurse practitioner, a detailed history and physical examination may last an hour or more. The nurse practitioner may decide that a consultation with a practice physician is called for. However the NP himself or herself (yes, there are both men and women) can prescribe medications and begin treatment. Also, physical therapists are available at Carolina Meadows and, of course, referrals are made to outside specialty physicians when needed.
Recently, the Carolina Meadows practice manager explained to an overflow gathering of residents just how well-trained, dedicated, and competent the Primary Care professionals are.
It’s a very different world from that in which my father practiced medicine alone all those many years ago.
By resident, Dr. Jim Scatliff