Shadow series tracks rheumatologist through 'typical' workday
The series was especially useful with Seo, since even the word "rheumatologist" probably leaves most laypersons lost.
Seo, who is also a university professor with 13 years’ experience, enjoys working with up-and-coming doctors as the program director at Johns Hopkins’ Division of Rheumatology. He is in clinic for three days a week, seeing patients from around the world who have musculoskeletal disease or systemic autoimmune conditions such as microscopic polyangiitis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Takayasu’s arteritis and other diseases that fall under his systemic vasculitis umbrella of expertise.
For a month and a half every year, Seo supervises the inpatient consult service at the hospital. He says although it can be a bit crazier than his normal routine because of the change in day-to-day workflow, he gets the chance to visit with patients who have diagnoses he might not otherwise see. This, along with the variety of diagnostic testing for rheumatic diseases, makes his job worthwhile, he says.
Seo says he is constantly trying to manage a perfect work-life balance and to not get hung up on making less money than some of his college classmates who are now in private practice. He enjoys the trade-off of being able to see patients with diagnoses that interest him. And while he doesn’t enjoy the frequent travel to conferences around the world, he is thankful that rheumatology patients don’t typically need him in a midnight emergency.
Seo also believes today's doctors need to learn to be more emotionally aware around their patients and communicate in a way the patient can understand. He says it is especially important in rheumatology. because patients are usually on a journey that requires a detailed explanation of many symptoms.