Dr. Melchiore Buscemi, tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Dr. Melchiore Buscemi. I am 67 years old. When I was in college I had dreams of becoming a concert cellist. I took lessons with a member of the New York Philharmonic orchestra. But as I started college I realized that becoming successful in music was virtually impossible. Speaking to my neighbor, who was a dentist, I decided to change to my other passion: biology.
As the years went on I played in off-Broadway shows. When I graduated, I decided to go to medical school so I could save lives.
What first inspired your interest in this field?
Approaching graduation I reviewed the direction I wanted to take my biology degree. My grandparents died from Pneumonia, COPD, Colon cancer, and Heart disease. Seeing how they suffered, I realized that being a physician would allow me the greatest opportunity to help people suffering from various health issues.
What was your specialty? Why did you choose that particular field?
When I finished medical school I had the opportunity to do research in urology. Dealing with genetics, I became interested in fertility. I was fortunate to be accepted into a urology residency. Until today, it is one of the most difficult residencies to obtain. Even the American Board of Urology does not want to publish statistics so as to not discourage applicants.
Is there anything about your early days or early practice experience that stands
Throughout the residency, you always know that a senior attending was available to make sure you do things correctly. Final outcome was their responsibility. When you pass your board exams and start seeing patients, then it’s all on you. There is no longer that safety shield.
What is the most challenging aspect you have faced during your career? How did you navigate/overcome it?
I always knew how to manage patient issues, but was never prepared for the amount of politics, the wide range of personalities, and how it affected your status in the hospital and referrals.
What did you enjoy most about this medical career? What highlights or accomplishments are you most proud of?
After residency for the first three years, I worked in urban hospitals. When I decided to have my own practice, I chose suburban and rural communities. The patients were much more appreciative of the doctor/patient relationship. This close relationship changed how I approached patients. Instead of the mentality that patients were lucky that I was treating them, I felt so appreciative that they trusted me to treat them. They had non-stop access to me for problems 24/7, even when I was on vacation.
Where do you see yourself 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road?
I see myself working to help develop better access for patient care.
Any particular advice you would offer aspiring or current healthcare professionals?
No matter what degree you have, your patients and colleagues will judge you on your medical knowledge and how you treat patients. Having a higher degree does not always mean you are a better health care provider. Medicine is continually changing. Even when your training program is over, you must keep up with changes in treatments and diagnostic studies.