Cimberly Penick, D.O., MBA, FACOG, serves as the Medical Director for the OB/GYN Hospitalist program at Riverside Community Hospital in Riverside, California. Dr. Penick has always had an interest in the healthcare field, but entering medical school, she had plans to study ophthalmology. That all changed when she began her OB/GYN rotation. She recalls being “in awe of the compassion and skills demonstrated during both ‘normal’ deliveries and obstetrical emergencies.” She remembers enjoying everything she was exposed to in the clinical setting, from the outpatient clinic to the OR and labor and delivery units. “I was hooked!” she says.
Taking care of others requires taking care of yourself
While she takes great joy and satisfaction from her work, finding a work/life balance can be tricky, especially for physicians who generally tend to exceed the typical 40-hour work week. When asked about how she balances it all, her answer is simple: “How can I take care of someone else if I am not taking care of myself?” Finding that ideal middle ground is vitally important to feel better, work more efficiently, and, most importantly, provide better care for patients. “When physicians do not feel well supported or do not have a positive work/life balance, that negativity impacts patient care,” she states.
For Dr. Penick, MEDNAX plays a huge role in this balance as the company always ensures adequate clinical staffing and provides necessary resources for her team and their patients. Beyond that, she specifically notes how the support staff and senior corporate leaders of MEDNAX truly understand that everyone plays a role in the success of the company. They take care of their physicians and strive for them to be successful, in their practice as well as mentally and physically.
OB Hospitalist benefits
As an OB Hospitalist, Dr. Penick has more autonomy over her schedule, which allows her more time with her family. Though the doctors may stick to a schedule, rarely do the babies they help deliver. The staffing approach for the OB/GYN Hospitalist program ensures that there is a physician readily available 24/7 so that patients have support when they need it. This coverage is also appreciated by the private practice OB/GYNs, who know the team is in place and prepared to assist their patients in the event of an emergency while they are en route.
As part of a company with a nationwide presence, Dr. Penick and her OBH cohorts also have the support of National Clinical Director of Operations for OB Hospitalist Programs, Brian Gilpin, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Penick notes that Dr. Gilpin is a true leader and in constant communication with her and the other team leaders, which gives her a feeling of being heard and valued in her role. More so, Dr. Gilpin is a trusted colleague that can supplement the team of great physicians Dr. Penick works with. She calls her team “a group of happy doctors” and that is due in part to the support they receive as clinicians and as human beings.
What makes a good leader
Like many other physicians, Dr. Penick finds support in her family and notes that a big player in her daily motivation is her ability to serve as a strong female role model for her boys. “My goal is simply to show my boys that they can achieve their dreams,” she states.
To her, what makes a great doctor is humility. She seeks to always understand the patient perspective and leads her team by example. She always strives to act as a team leader, never hiding behind a title to exert authority. She also conveys the importance of encouraging feedback, learning from others, and taking time out of your day to do something nice, such as leaving notes on the call room whiteboard wishing teammates a great shift.
Dr. Penick also lends her advice to young physicians giving them the same advice she was given by her late father to treat challenges they face as learning opportunities for growth, stay focused, and don't neglect your own health.