Dedication to a Dream
Finding a good pediatrician near you makes all the difference in the world to first-time parents.
My family got lucky.
I first came across Bexfield by chance almost two years ago. My four-month-old came down with RSV, rhinovirus, and croup all at once. He had a hungry fever verging on 105, and my wife and I had yet to find a pediatrician we liked.
Dr. Nathan Bexfield had been a no-choice choice.
It turned out to be a good one.
When Bexfield was in high school, he had the chance to shadow someone who had their own business. He chose a pediatrician. That decision changed the course of his life and set the foundation for who he would become as a doctor, a husband, and as a father.
“I was able to follow him around, see what he does,” Bexfield said, his face beginning to flush with an obvious passion he couldn’t have hid had someone paid him. What he saw while shadowing plucked at a few of his strings and impressed upon him the importance of empathy, humility, relatability—traits far too many American doctors lack or ignore.
What really struck Bexfield about becoming a doctor wasn’t the perceived prestige attached to earning an MD, it wasn’t the prospect of a more-than-likely lucrative career, nor was it solely the science of medicine that solidified his desire of becoming a physician.
It was, and still is, he told me, about the patient/doctor connection he witnessed as a teenager while shadowing the pediatrician.
Connecting with your doctor
“It was the connections with the families. They came to him, they trusted him, and he would take care of their children. And I wanted to be able to do that for people. I wanted to be that kind of person.”
It was a little strange because I actually believed him. There was something about his voice. It was tinctured with authenticity and had a weight of credibility. Having a connection, forging a trust with your child’s pediatrician, can make or break a bad situation.
For a first-time parent with a suddenly sick newborn, a trip to the pediatrician is like watching someone about to unknowingly step off the edge of a cliff—the anxious fear of having absolutely no control over anything at hand—the feeling is electric, courses through your veins like cold needles, and leaves you with an IQ of about 10 and an embarrassingly long banner of stupid questions.
The last thing you want is to feel rushed because the doctors themselves are rushed (it’s no secret that there is no economic reward for doctors to take the time to truly listen to their patients) or talked down to, or feel less-than, or embarrassed. The situation is tense enough.
What makes a doctor successful?
Most doctors I’ve seen have all done a pretty darn good job at making me feel all of those things, and have seemingly gone out of their way not to attempt any sort of trusting relationship as though their white-coat status forbids such action.
Let’s face it, a doctor isn’t a successful doctor simply because they manage to slog through med school. A doctor’s success hinges on more than the dexterous ability of the mind.
I started feeling guilty after checking the time. Almost 7:30. Bexfield should be home with his wife, his kids. Not sitting with me as I stuttered my way through questions that may or may not result in a decent article.
“Are you a successful doctor?” I asked him.
“I’d like to think I am,” Bexfield laughed. “I think success naturally comes when you love what you do … I am not sad to come to work every day. I love it just as much now as I did when I started medical school.”
What he’s saying, what he’s getting at, is passion. It’s easy to be successful at anything so long as the passion for that anything stays brightly lit. So long as that happens, success comes naturally.
Finding a good pediatrician near you who understands the value of passion and relatability is, arguably, one of the best thing you can do for your little one.
“Loving what I do helps me love my patients,” Bexfield said. Then added, somw“I also never forget that I am a patient, too.”