The AMA “Members Move Medicine” series profiles a wide variety of doctors, offering a glimpse into the passions of women and men navigating new courses in American medicine.
On the move with: Tyeese L. Gaines, DO, an emergency physician, journalist and physician executive in New Jersey.
AMA member since: 2013.
What inspired me to pursue a career in medicine: Ever since I was a young child putting makeshift splints on people’s fingers using Popsicle sticks, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. I actually can’t remember not being fascinated by medicine, the human body and the privilege of caring for others. With life, of course, the path got a little “squiggly,” but I found my way back to my original interest without much time lost.
How I move medicine: In several ways. Through my journalism career, bringing scientifically sound health information to the lay public; as a physician executive, trying to make the practice of medicine more efficient, yet provider-friendly; and as a practicing emergency medicine physician, directly caring for each individual patient, working hard to teach them as much as I can in our short time together.
Career highlights: I am proud of obtaining fellow status with the American College of Emergency Physicians, and my certified physician executive status from the American Association of Physician Leaders.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my 16 years working in news, and I feel that has been my way to advocate: by bringing both physician issues and patient issues to the light in mainstream media over the years. Now, with my media company, we aim to help other physicians do the same, and increase the amount of reliable, physician-backed media content that’s out there.
Advice I’d give to those interested in pursuing a career in medicine: Make sure you love it. The road to becoming a practicing physician is difficult, full of ups and downs and full of sacrifice. If you’re not in it for the right reasons, you’ll be miserable.
There has to be a basic love for medicine and the profession there that powers you through the sleepless nights, the missed family events and the overall stress. It is absolutely doable and attainable, even for those without access to the best resources, but you have to have that love and that passion to get through.
Aspect of my work that means the most: Being able to connect with my patients. I enjoy breaking down medical content into layman’s terms for my patient to understand, making them laugh during what often starts out as a stressful visit in the emergency department, and reaching a resolution on their reason for being there. As an emergency medicine physician, I feel privileged to care for patients at some of their most vulnerable and life-changing moments.