Posted on Thursday, 27th August 2015 by

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The physicians featured in this week’s article are from the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center. See part 6 for a further discussion about the physician career path.

Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Martinsburg VA Medical Center is a general medical and surgical hospital in Martinsburg, WV, with 246 beds. It has service area that covers more than 126,000 veterans in West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It offers a comprehensive range of services including internal medicine, ambulatory surgery, audiology, and speech pathology, dental, nursing home, nutrition, podiatry, prosthetics, women’s health, mental health, and rehabilitation medicine.

Physician (GS-0602) Career Path

Dr. Deborah Bennett, is a GS-15 physician at Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center specializing in Family Medicine.

 

Dr. Deborah Bennett

Dr. Deborah Bennett

Q&A With Dr. Deborah Bennett

Why did you become a Physician?

This career path allowed me to utilize my passion for science and desire to help others. It is an honor to be trusted with another human being’s health. It encourages vital communication and trust between two people. It has enabled me to educate my patients, encourage their engagement/ participation in their own health care. It is a way to contribute beyond the family level to the community as a whole. Leaving a small area a little better off because you were there is my goal.

Each day, as I walk through the hallways of Martinsburg VA Hospital I am reminded of the true cost we bear as a nation in sending our service members off to defend our country. Knowing that I have served our veterans, aided in providing them quality care and comforted them and their loved ones during a difficult time is reward enough.

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a Physician?

I had been welcomed into the world of Academic Medicine and teaching. Working with young physicians as they develop into their chosen profession is rewarding. Being a role model, encouraging the human side of medicine, dealing with families, educating patients and families gives satisfaction and gratification at the end of the day.
Feeling that you have contributed to your community by working with your patients, taking their needs and concepts further up the administrative ladder. Finding that working on committees to advocate for those who may not be able to advocate for themselves is the highest form of satisfaction. Feeling that you have left the world a little better for being here is reward enough.

What is the most demanding or challenging part of being a Physician?

Most physicians go into medicine with a well-defined spirit, enthusiasm and a sense of fairness. Often illnesses or diseases are not “fair”. Seeing patients and families suffer is often difficult to justify. Often you would wish for that magic wand to make our patient’s world a little better right away.

Would you recommend being a Physician as a good career path?

I believe that this is a personal and serious consideration. With this said, anyone choosing to practice in medicine should be able to be flexible, be able to place other’s needs before your own, be able to do without sleep while keeping a good sense of humor and deliver high quality health care. It is an honor bestowed on you by your patients and their families. This combination of requirements is not easily maintained. Often a physician is reflective of their family support. Over the years, my patients became familiar with my family, knew my children and often interviewed me about my personal life. Fair trade off, isn’t it. I knew most of their personal information. After all trust goes both ways.

At Martinsburg VA Hospital we have a “second set of family”. This family works together with bonds formed, sometimes over decades, with hospital staff. We work together, placing our veteran’s needs above all else. A few months ago our nursing staff felt that one of our patients needed to go outside.

He had been confined to his hospital room due to specific needs. They made arrangements to accommodate his needs while outside. This veteran was in tears with his trip. I encountered him in the elevator and asked how he liked it. He responded that he got to see a dog and tears ran down his face with joy. This is the Martinsburg way. Everyone binds together to accomplish both medical and social needs. I cannot think of any other career that allows for this expanse of dedication, delivery of high-level medical care while not minimizing the social effects on our patients.

Physician (GS-0602) Family Medicine Requirements

Basic Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Degree of doctor of medicine or an equivalent degree resulting from a course of education in medicine or osteopathic medicine.
  • Applicant must possess a current, full and unrestricted license to practice medicine or surgery in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia.
  • Candidate must have completed a first-year residency, or its equivalent, approved by the Secretary of VA for the year in which it was completed.

Duties of a Physician of Family Medicine

  • Manages chronic conditions, evaluates and treats other medical conditions.
  • Performs a variety of disease prevention related activities including gender and age specific screenings (e.g. breast and colo-rectal cancer), mental health screenings (e.g. depression, substance use & abuse, military sexual trauma and PTSD) and health promotion activities including immunizations, weight management and exercise counseling.
  • Screens for, evaluates, and treats uncomplicated common mental health disorders, including depression and common addictions, with referrals made to mental health providers for further evaluation and treatment as appropriate.
  • Performs common outpatient & office-based procedures.
  • Performs preliminary interpretation of common diagnostic tests including EKG and plain x-ray films.

Dr. Elisabeth Sethi is a GS-15 physician at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center and her specialty is Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, Hospice, and Palliative Medicine.

 

Dr. Elisabeth Sethi

Dr. Elisabeth Sethi

Sethi became a physician to contribute to society in a meaningful way and supports patients and their families through illness, disability and at the end of life. Time restraints and working long hours are the most demanding part of her job and she recommends the occupation to anyone interested in the field.

Physician GS-0602 Internal Medicine Requirements

Basic Requirements

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Degree of doctor of medicine or an equivalent degree resulting from a course of education in medicine or osteopathic medicine.
  • Board certification in Internal Medicine/Family Medicine.
  • Current, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or surgery in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia.

Duties of a Physician of Internal Medicine

  • Manages chronic conditions, evaluates, and treats other medical conditions.
  • Performs a variety of disease prevention related activities including gender and age specific screenings (e.g. breast and colo-rectal cancer), mental health screenings (e.g. depression, substance use& abuse, military sexual trauma and PTSD) and health promotion activities including immunizations, weight management, and exercise counseling.
  • Performs common outpatient & office-based procedures.
  • Performs preliminary interpretation of common diagnostic tests including EKG and plain x-ray films.

Physician (GS-0602) (Geriatrician) Requirements

Basic Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen to apply.
  • Degree of doctor of medicine or an equivalent degree resulting from a course of education in medicine or osteopathic medicine.
  • Current, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or surgery in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia.

Duties of a Geriatrician Physician

  • Function as an integral part of a Geriatric Primary Care multi-disciplinary team to coordinate, facilitate, and provide, patient care and services.
  • Document health appraisal information, clinical assessment, treatment decisions, plan of care, ongoing management and therapeutic outcomes, order medications, diagnostic tests and referral consultations where needed for every patient encounter.
  • Order and evaluate diagnostic tests as appropriate.

Physician (GS-0602) Hospice/Palliative Care Requirement

Basic Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship is required.
  • Degree of doctor of medicine or an equivalent degree resulting from a course of education in medicine or osteopathic medicine.
  • Board Eligible/Board Certified and possess a current, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine or surgery in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or in the District of Columbia.
  • Duties of a Hospice/Palliative Care Physician
  • Provide inpatient and outpatient consultation services in palliative care
  • Be an active participant and facilitate clarification and the development of patient and family goals of care.
  • Facilitate access to appropriate supportive care services.
  • Be involved in analysis of data leading to the development of hospital policies and protocols for the improvement of quality of care.

In part 8 of this continuing series, we will explore the Psychiatrist (GP-0602) and Psychologist (GS-0180) occupational series.

Credits

  • Michele Hammonds, Communications Specialist, US Department of Veterans Affairs, VHA Office of Public Communications (10B2B)
  • Photos were provided by the Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

 

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