Every day, our doctors go above and beyond to help our communities heal. On March 30, we celebrate Doctors’ Day, expressing our appreciation to those who care for us and guide us to maintain a healthy lifestyle all year round.
Richard D. Smith, Jr., MD, internal medicine physician with St. Francis Health, joined our health system in October 2015. He shared his thoughts on being a doctor.
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine/healthcare?
In 1967 one of my elderly family members was extremely sick and nothing was being done. I asked “why?” and was told if you want to help, become a doctor. I initially considered surgery, but I wanted to return to my small town and internal medicine was best suited for my return home.
2. Have there been any challenges you’ve faced and overcome in your career journey?
I have constantly been challenged coming from a small town and being a minority.
3. Who has influenced you most in your career?
My influence came from my family, especially my mother.
4. What do you like most about being a doctor?
It is rewarding to establish a relationship with a stranger and that develops into a physician-patient partnership. Most of my patients care most about are their children, grandchildren and spouses.
5. If you weren’t a doctor, what would you do?
I would have been a truck driver.
6. How do you ensure your patients feel heard during their visit?
I allow the patient time to express their complaints.
7. Why did you choose St. Francis Medical Group?
I had shared a call and established a friendship with one of the initial physicians in the group. He convinced me to join.
8. What is something that people may be surprised to know about you?
I have dyslexia. I was taught “Treat others the way you want to be treated” therefore, that’s my philosophy in treating my patients.