Hooked on Primary Care with Erika Visser Aragona, DO
Prevention, education, relatability and creating a cheerful place in medicine are my cornerstones. They are the motivating factors of why I chose to go into family medicine.
Seriously, I love talking with people; I am constantly in awe of what I learn from my patients when I just give them the space to talk, to share their stories and to open my eyes to a world outside medicine.
Training as a doctor of osteopathic medicine with an emphasis in preventive care drove home the desire for me to help prevent disease before it starts. I consider my most valuable work to be when I don’t prescribe medications, when I don’t have to order expensive imaging tests, and when I work with a patient to form a realistic and attainable goal and then see their progress at their next visit.
Family medicine has allowed me to have the time to educate, to expand upon the gravity of self-care, preventive screenings and early detection, and having a healthy lifestyle. My heart has always been in teaching, which is why my platform online and my participation as an adjunct professor at Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine holds such a special place in my life.
When medicine is relatable to patients, when their goals are realistic and when medical dialogue is on their level and relayed in a cheerful and positive tone, that is when I feel I have provided the best care. Educating future physicians to embrace this principle has given me more joy and furthered my optimistic outlook more than I could have imagined. In our current times of uncertainty with the pandemic and health care overall, I have found that family medicine affords me the opportunity to focus on my passions and create a safe space for students and patients to learn in a welcoming environment.
I am grateful for the ability to see a wide variety of diseases, bring health care into the hands of the patients themselves and continue to strive for healthy lifestyles to combat further disease progression. Family medicine allows for just that and more — I have the space to get to know my patients, build rapport and genuinely celebrate their successes and milestones as I would any of my other friends. This relationship has been the key to enthusiastically practicing medicine despite the growing demands on physicians, reduced time per patient, administrative burden and the ever-concerning topic of physician burn-out we hear all too often. Having a true relationship increases my job satisfaction, increases patient compliance and allows us to function as a team. I could not imagine a specialty that more aligns with my personality, and I am constantly pinching myself for how fortunate I am to be in the field of family medicine and have the honor of patients entrusting me with their care.
Erika Visser Aragona, DO
Board-certified family medicine physician, Boise, Idaho & Assistant professor of women's health, Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine