One of the most important decisions that medical students contemplate is what kind of specialty they’ll go into.
Dr. Chris Baumert, a resident physician with the Montana Family Medicine Residency at RiverStone Health, said he had a relatively easy time deciding.
“I was one of the rare students who knew I wanted to go into family medicine before medical school,” Baumert said. “Part of that may have been because my mother is a family physician. She didn’t try to bias me in any way. But she enjoys being able to talk to me about the stresses and the business side of medicine.”
Baumert will complete his residency at RiverStone Health later this year. He plans to remain in Billings, but doesn’t yet know where he’ll practice.
Medicine is actually Baumert’s second profession. He worked as an engineer for a short time after completing his bachelor’s degree.
“I enjoyed all the classes I took. But designing one little part for a wastewater treatment plant just wasn’t the job I had envisioned,” Baumert said.
“I enjoy talking to people, and I enjoy helping to solve their problems. Maybe it’s because of that engineering background,” he said.
Medicine has changed somewhat from when his mother was in medical school. One of the big differences is that residents are more restricted on the number of hours they work.
These days, residents work around 80 hours per week. In an earlier era, it wasn’t uncommon for residents to work more than 100 hours per week, and sometimes clock 30 hours consecutively.
“We don’t do more than an average of 80 hours per week,” Baumert said. “I never feel like lack of sleep is interfering with patient care.”
Describe how you got where you are in your work today: I am most proud of my involvement in advocacy and health policy as a resident leader in the American Academy of Family Physicians, the professional organization that represents family physicians. This past year, I was one of two delegates representing my resident colleagues from across the country at the AAFP’s Congress of Delegates in San Diego. I first became involved in helping to direct the policy of family medicine organizations as a medical student in the Pennsylvania chapter of the AAFP. In various leadership roles since that time, I have brought a resident voice to such issues as developing guidelines on use of social media by family physicians, developing guidelines for family physicians practicing prenatal ultrasound, and advocating for a federal controlled substance registry.
What’s the toughest challenge that you have faced in your business? I feel like it’s a constant challenge to keep up with current medical knowledge and implement best patient care practices while maintaining efficiency.
What did you learn from that challenge? The need to stay adaptable.
What’s the best business advice you have received? Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today, and that includes making time for food, physical activity and family.
Who gave you that advice? My mom, my residency program director, and basically every other mentor I’ve had in the health care field.
Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I’d like to continue to help implement changes at RiverStone and advocate for changes in legislation in Helena and Washington, D.C. that can help improve access to quality primary health care for everyone.
Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? By the size of the smile on my face at the end of a day of helping patients feel better.
Which living person do you most admire? My mom, for instilling in me her values of hard work, honesty and empathy.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? I think it’s so special just to have gained the trust of the patients I treat.
I’m happiest when I’m… playing soccer, skiing, or just spending time with my girlfriend Kristin.