“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”
– Woody Allen
I did not think about becoming a professor when I made my career change. I have been teaching medical students (and nurse practitioner students, and medical assistant students, and just about anybody who would hold still) ever since I came to Indiana about twenty-eight years ago. I even had a title bestowed on me by Indiana University: Volunteer Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine. I never really thought about that title, either, because I always thought that teaching was part of the job of being a doctor. Besides that, I kind of thought the students were there for my benefit, because it is so cool to watch someone discover the healing arts.
Then Dr. Bankston, the dean of Health Sciences at IU Northwest asked me if I wanted to turn pro, and offered me a position as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine, half time and no longer a volunteer. As I said, it’s not what I intended, but I meditated on the offer for a while and decided that this is what I want to do, and it is of a piece with the rest of my career. I spend a lot of time explaining to people why medicine is a wonderful profession, why family medicine is such a valuable and rewarding specialty within medicine, and how direct primary care is going to help restore the relationships between patients and their doctors. Proselytizing doesn’t pay the bills, but I am in this business for the ideas and the ideals. I won’t go hungry, and the only monument I want is the minds I have changed.
So here I am, starting off into something else new. I am going to continue being a family doctor but I also have a new ground to build the future of medicine. This is better than I had planned.