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Ask the Expert: Physician Personality

Q: Is there a right personality to succeed as a physician with SMAs?

A: There is a common misconception that it takes a special type of personality to be successful with SMAs.  

Most think that it takes an extroverted personality.  I have worked with hundreds of providers including physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants and have found that no matter what the personality is, if there is interest and commitment to want to do SMAs, any personality can be sucessful.  Even the most shy can be succesful!  One of the very first physicians I worked with was a very quiet, thoughtful (took his time to listen and respond to each question) person.  I will admit that I was a bit concerned about how the patients would react in a SMA.  Would it be boring for them?  What I found is that this physician's patients chose him for a reason.  They appreciated his quiet, calm demeanor and just wanted that same personality that they see in the exam room show up in their SMA.

Some physicians may not admit they are shy but are concerned about "being on stage" and doing what is normally done behind a closed exam room in front of others (an audience).  My advice to them is to act just as they would if they were in that exam room.  Focus on one patient at a time and do what comes naturally.  I am amazed at how quickly physicians are able to focus on each patient and become obilvious to the rest of the work going on around them.

Don't exclude any physician from trying a SMA.  If they are interested, go for it.  They might surprise you and themselves!