National Doctor’s Day is a time to honor the millions of healthcare providers standing between us and illness. It’s easy to let observances pass by without a singular moment of reflection but this year we should all turn our attention to the doctors that have taken a stand for our collective health. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of healthcare workers have perished. Every day they go to work not knowing if they will be infected with a potentially deadly respiratory disease.
Use this time to honor doctors and other medical staff still battling COVID-19. Some of Tri-County Health Care’s providers took this time to reflect on their careers.
Heidi Olson, M.D.
Heidi Olson: Science and superior care
Why did you choose your career path?
“I love science, the human body, and having a connection with others.”
What have you learned in the last year of practicing medicine during a pandemic?
“As healthcare providers, we need to have a little grace with ourselves and others. Forgiveness is so important right now. There are a lot of hard times in life and beating up on ourselves and others is not the answer.”
Do you have any advice for someone interested in becoming a doctor?
“Follow your passions, there are so many unique areas and facets of medicine. For example, I love wilderness medicine and how it pertains to my outdoor hobbies. In my clinical practice, I enjoy focusing on wellness and quality of life, as well as palliative care in my end-of-life patients.”
Dr. Schmidt with her patients, Alyssa and Fiana
For National Doctor’s Day, people are curious, why did you go into medicine?
“I chose to be a physician because I wanted to be instrumental in improving the life and health of others. Particularly, I like being able to put the various social aspects together when taking care of a family. Understanding that a mother’s health or their child’s health affects how they take care of themselves.”
What has the pandemic taught you?
“I had to learn how to increase my flexibility and patience. The state of the virus is always changing and I had to learn patience in trying to explain a novel virus that we are constantly researching. I’ve also had to learn to accept that some people may not acknowledge or appreciate my expertise.”
Any advice for newbies entering the field?
“I would recommend they focus extensively on classwork, training and the perseverance that it takes to get through eight years of education plus the several years of specialized training. If you can get through that, a very rewarding career awaits you.”
David Kloss, M.D.
Why did you become a surgeon?
“I love interacting with people and their families and I’ve always had a knack for taking things apart, figuring out what was wrong, and putting them back together. I enjoy the changing routine and challenges of being a surgeon.”
What is the important takeaway from this pandemic?
“People are resilient and we can get through anything if we stick together.”
Do you have any advice for surgeons in training?
“Work hard and play hard! It is important to study, apply yourself, but also make time for fun to avoid burnout. Medicine is a very long marathon race. You have to pace yourself to make it all the way through. Eat healthy, get some exercise, and take a vacation with your family.”
Share with me a time when your knowledge of medicine changed someone’s life for the better.
“A doctor called me about a 60-year-old gentleman with sudden severe back and abdominal pain. He was sweating profusely. Not in shock but his heart rate was elevated. I made the diagnosis over the phone of a rupturing aortic aneurysm. I ordered an emergent CAT scan over the phone and met him in the ER. From there, we expedited his resuscitation and transferred him to a surgeon at a facility that could perform an aortic stent graft. He had a rupturing iliac artery aneurysm (a rare and very difficult issue, even more difficult to treat). By expediting the CT scan along with his resuscitation and communicating directly with the specialist, I saved his life. It is not always yourself doing the surgery, but it can be the simple little things that save a life. That’s what makes medicine the greatest career.”
Ben Hess, M.D.
Ben Hess: Trust is a valuable resource
What led you to this profession?
“I love challenges. I enjoy solving complicated puzzles and I wanted to do something that would help my community.”
What insight have you gained from the pandemic?
“As complex and cumbersome as medicine is normally, in a crisis, we can act decisively and quickly. The public trust is a precious resource we should never squander.”
On National Doctor’s Day, do you have any advice for students?
“Take the hardest classes from the best teachers, regardless of the subject. Everything you learn will help in medicine whether it is science, math, or even art because they all make you a more well-rounded person which can help you connect better to people.”
Why did you want to become a physician?
“I’ve wanted to be a physician for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a small town in central Minnesota. We had a family physician and he always went above and beyond. I decided when I became a doctor, I wanted to be just like him. I knew I wanted to raise my children in a small town where I could be like him, and that led me to Tri-County Health Care.”
What’s the best part of being a doctor?
“I love getting to know the families and watching them grow and change. There is nothing more rewarding than delivering a baby and watching that patient become a parent for the first time.”
Has the pandemic shown you anything special?
“We are a strong community and we have a fantastic family of medical providers. Many people have come together to make our community safe and I couldn’t be prouder to live and work here.”
For National Doctor’s Day, please reach out to your provider and let them know how they have impacted your life for the better. Please follow Tri-County Health Care on social media for regular updates. To schedule an appointment with one of our providers, please call 218-631-3510.
Dr. DuChene with her patient, Amanda.