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8 minutes? I’d Rather be a Barista.

by Dr. Aimee Warren

“Doctor quits practice and applies for a job at Starbucks”

Being a physician entrepreneur has created a paradigm shift for me and in my role as a physician. In residency, doctors are trained to find and focus on disease. During rounds, we would often refer to patients by their disease state, such as “the gallbladder in room 201” or “the repeat MI in the ICU”. It felt wrong to me and I went through my training with a sense of disenchantment. I was not at all thrilled by the idea of spending my career rushing from room to room, writing prescriptions, and clock watching. Like many physicians, I went into medicine because I wanted to use my brain to help people. The problem is, is that the training it takes to become a doctor and the reality of the job once you’re in practice can suck the joy and the altruism right out of you.

In today’s health care system, doctors are pressured to see more patients in less time. In fact, under the current medical model, many physicians are required to see 30+ patients per day to maintain a viable practice — this leaves approximately 8 minutes to see each patient. “Sorry Mr. BMI over 40, I don’t have time to talk to you about a healthy diet or exercise, here’s a prescription for Lipitor.” I knew this wasn’t for me and I was downright depressed about my career choice — so much so that I often would stand in line at Starbucks and find myself envying the baristas. They spend their day making delicious coffee and everyone leaves happy and content. Bliss!

It wasn’t until I opened my own practice that I began to regain my wonder, curiosity, and love for the practice of medicine. Being my own boss has allowed me the freedom to practice medicine the way I feel is right. Integrating functional medicine, preventive care, and holistic modalities into my practice not only enriched my relationships with my patients but it also renewed my sense of purpose in my career as a physician.

What is functional medicine?
 Patient centered not disease centered
 Look for the root cause of disease
 Treat the whole person – mind, body & spirit
 Incorporate lifestyle management into every patient visit
 Take time and listen to patients

Who doesn’t want their doctor to practice this way? I certainly have never heard a patient say, “Dr. Warren, you spend too much time with me”. The problem is, our current healthcare model makes it really freaking hard to sustain a practice this way (remember that 8 minutes per patient thing?). I am the first to admit that my strength is not in business; I went to medical school not business school.

So, I am still trying to figure out how to keep doing what I love within our crazy healthcare system. And hopefully I can figure it out before my practice sinks like the Titanic and I’m slinging lattes. However, being an physician entrepreneur has taught me that anything worth having is worth fighting for and I’d rather fail at something I’m passionate about than succeed at a mundane soul-crushing job pushing prescriptions all day.

Sink or sail – it’s all about the journey right? I’ll keep you posted! Bon Voyage! Dr. Warren

Dr. Aimee Warren is the Medical Director at Kairin Clinic, Temecula Valley’s leading medical boutique. To learn more about their unique integrative practice or to get your micronutrient levels checked, visit their website:  or call (951) 225-1003.

Written by Aimee Warren

Dr. Aimee Warren is the Medical Director at Kairin Clinic, Temecula Valley’s leading medical boutique. To learn more about their unique integrative practice, visit their website: or call (951) 225-1003.

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