Many, if not all, rheumatologists seek to grow as clinicians so they can provide consistently exceptional care to patients and serve as role models for colleagues and trainees. In our Lessons from Master Clinicians series for The Rheumatologist, we present insights from clinicians who have achieved distinction in the field of rheumatology and who are respected by other rheumatologists for their exceptional clinical reasoning, knowledge across a wide range of medical specialties and patient-centered care.
Following 30+ years as the Fellowship Director, Sterling G. West, MD, MACP, MACR, is professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colo., and co-director of the Metabolic Bone Disease Clinic. Dr. West received his undergraduate degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and his medical degree from the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta. He completed a residency in internal medicine at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center and a fellowship in rheumatology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology and is an ACR Master and a Master of the American College of Physicians (ACP).
Dr. West’s major focus continues to be on patient care and teaching. His research interests include neuropsychiatric lupus and uncommon rheumatic diseases. He has published more than 100 original articles and book chapters. He is editor of the book, Rheumatology Secrets. He is past deputy editor of Arthritis & Rheumatism and has served on the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Certifying Examination Committee and Self Evaluation Program Test Committee in Rheumatology. Additionally, he is a reviewer for Arthritis & Rheumatology, Journal of Rheumatology and the Annals of Internal Medicine.
Dr. West has received many honors and awards, including the University of Colorado Full-Time Physician of the Year Award, ACP Laureate Award, the ACR Distinguished Clinician Scholar Award and the ACR Distinguished Fellowship Director Award. Dr. West recently spoke with The Rheumatologist about his experiences in rheumatology.
Q: In your opinion, what makes for a master clinician?
A: A master clinician should be an inspiring leader and role model. They should have several attributes, including a superior fund of knowledge, excellent clinical judgment, integrity and the highest ethical and moral standards of professionalism. They should possess exceptional interpersonal and communication skills with patients, colleagues and administrators. Finally, they should be an outstanding educator, eager to learn new knowledge and techniques, but most of all willing to devote time to share their wisdom with mentees and other learners.