Physician, Know Thyself: Tips for Finding a More Fulfilling Practice Model

In 2013, family physician Julie Gunther, MD, FAAFP, FAAHPM, embarked on a journey to rebuild her medical career—and her life—after she found herself unfulfilled and burned out by a five-year stint as an employed outpatient physician and hospice medical director. “I was angry and tired,” says Gunther. “I loved being in the room with the patient. I loved the doctor part. I hated the documentation and the drama and the unfair pay—all of it. I started to look for a different way.”

Less than a year later, she established sparkMD, a direct primary care (DPC) practice in Boise, Idaho. For Gunther, DPC was her key to finding fulfillment as a physician. “The way I am wired, nothing compensates as well as autonomy,” she says. “Choosing [DPC] has made me feel like a whole person. It has restored me.” 

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