Dr. Robert Fawcett has been a family physician for 34 years -- long enough to have the joy of delivering the babies of three women he also delivered.
And recently, Fawcett, 63, of York City, was named the Pennsylvania Family Physician of the Year by the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians.
In addition to treating patients, Fawcett works closely with residents in training as an associate program director of the York Hospital Family Medicine Residency.
He has practiced a wide range of medicine, including obstetrics, critical care, pediatrics, geriatrics and sports medicine.
He had a private practice for 19 years in Hanover before joining the Family Medicine Residency faculty at York Hospital in 1998.
"Every day is a challenge. You go from room to room and you never know what's behind each door," said Fawcett. "Every family doctor in every state in the country has a hard job, and my hat's off to each of them, which makes the honor all the greater. But I don't know what I do differently."
Honesty: Fawcett enjoys teaching and working with residents, and one of the attributes he emphasizes is honesty.
"And not just not being dishonest, but honesty in being able to confront a patient and tell them what they have and what you think they should do," said Fawcett.
Doctors must also be honest with themselves so that they do not compromise the best way to take care of a patient for the easy way, Fawcett said.
It's also important for doctors to be honest with themselves about what they like and do not like, so that they
enter the appropriate area of medicine, he said.
"I've always wanted to be a family doctor," said Fawcett. "It's a great profession, and my appreciation for family medicine has only grown over the years.
"The great thing about family medicine is that it's so varied," Fawcett said. "If you want to do a lot of sports medicine, but you want to do everything else too, you can tailor your practice."
Pet project: Fawcett recently applied to have a one-year sports medicine fellowship established at York Hospital, and he has been working on an initiative for dealing with back pain more effectively.
Back pain has become a huge issue and often coincides with opiate use and addiction, and death from opiates is now the No. 1 accidental cause of death in the country, said Fawcett.
"As a health system we are trying to deal with that and have things in place to help doctors deal with it," he said.
In his 34 years as a physician, Fawcett has watched the number of medications patients take continue to rise along with the cost of those medications.
"I'm very worried that in the future we'll start to treat the patients according to the diseases they have rather than as the people that they are," said Fawcett. "People don't know it, but what they really need is a family doctor -- someone who knows them and their family and can treat them according to who they are."
Fawcett was nominated for Pennsylvania Family Physician of the Year by his colleagues. He and his wife, Christy, have two adult daughters.
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at email@example.com.