Michael Smith, MD
Department of Internal Medicine
University of Nebraska College of Medicine
How long have you been a member of AAIM?
I joined my third year of residency, before my year as chief resident. So, since 2011.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The process of learning new things, having the moment of clarity based on that new item, employing the new item into my practice, teaching the new item to learners, and then observing their moment of clarity
How has the AAIM membership been of value to you and your career?
The list serve and the community has been beneficial to spark connections. It is also so helpful to see that people are facing similar problems that I am and to hear a variety of solutions to those problems.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in the medical field?
My two older brothers are 15 and 17 years older than I am. One is a radiologist, and one is a lawyer. I am a mix of both of their personalities, but was way more into math and sciences in school. My personality is clearly not fit for Radiology but is a great fit for Internal Medicine.
What or Who inspires you and why?
My Dad. He was a dentist all of his adult life and practiced in a way that emphasized quality. I had a patient tell me they knew him for that just this week. He also continued learning throughout his life, both formally and informally. He went to law school when I was in grade school. Then he got a Masters degree when I was in medical school. Now he is a part time teacher at the dental school he attended.
What advice would you give to those who wish to pursue a career in this industry?
Mentors are essential to make sense of the landscape of academic Internal Medicine. At some point, it will be important that you create your own path, and that will involve some level of risk. The more you understand about yourself and how you interact with parts of the world, the easier that risk will be to manage. I don’t know that that is unique to Internal Medicine, but practicing Internal Medicine provides endless opportunities to better understand yourself and the world through your patients’ and learners’ experiences.
What is your favorite book or movie?
Books, both fiction and nonfiction, have had a profound impact on the person that I am and direction I am moving in my career, but if I have to pick one book or movie, it would be “The Big Lebowski.”