By Lt. Cmdr. Michael Mercado, MC, USN U.S. Naval Hospital Guam; interview by Joshua Wick, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs
Editor’s note: Several Navy Medicine personnel, medical treatment facilities (MTFs), units and programs were recognized this year by the Military Health System (MHS) awards program in February. The MHS awards aims to showcase the medical programs and service members who provide and support our medical forces. Navy Medicine took home eight awards including: the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Award for Humanism in Military Medicine; 2013 Building Stronger Female Physician Leaders in the MHS; 2012 Physician; 2012 Humanitarian Assistance; 4th AMSUS Force Health Protection; 2012 Department of Defense (DoD) Patient Safety; 2012 Department of Defense (DoD) Patient Safety.
The Arnold P. Gold Foundation Award for Humanism in Military Medicine
Q: What motivated you to become a physician?
A: I am not sure if I can necessarily pinpoint a particular early life experience that drove me towards medicine. I worked in a pediatrics clinic in high school as a data entry clerk which was where I first saw physicians in action and it was a joy to observe. My motivation really took off once I was actually in medical school and I started interacting closely with patients.
Q: How important is building a personal relationship with those you care for?
A: It is extremely important. That’s why I chose Family Medicine. Nothing beats being “home base” for your patients when it comes to their medical care and their coordination of care. Being a patient already places people in a vulnerable situation, and it takes a strong patient-physician relationship, forged over time, to be able to create a sense of security for patients.
Q: How do you use patient-centered medical care to provide better care for Navy Medicine’s Sailors, Marines and their beneficiaries?
A: I would hope that all medical professionals provide “patient-centered” care to our beneficiaries as I would see Navy Medicine providing nothing less than that. As a physician, patient-centered care is provided each time I give a patient a legible, written plan of care, in the few minutes that I spend explaining why an antibiotic is not for a common cold, or when I provide my toddler patients with stickers.. As a leader, I practice patient-centered care in teaching my corpsman how to go the extra mile for patients whether its escorting them to the lab or pharmacy, or reminding them to address patients by their appropriate rank. As a department head, I practice patient-centered care in my efforts to establish processes that are in line with the Patient Centered Medical Home Port model. To advocate population health, prevention of chronic diseases, optimized access to medical care for our beneficiaries, and to ensure that this model of practice is perceived by our patients as a secure “home” where their health is preserved.
Other personal award winners:
2013 Building Stronger Female Physician Leaders in the MHS, “Junior Navy winner”: Cmdr. Nicole McIntyre
2012 Physician Award, Presented by AMSUS (The Society of Federal Health Professionals): Capt. Chad Elsner, MC