Tell us about your medical school and where you completed your residency.
I attended the University of Louisville School of Medicine for medical school and the University of Tennessee at Memphis for residency. I chose their residency program because it offered an opportunity to practice at two incredible children’s hospitals (LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital). The high volume of both hospitals was attractive because I would be learning by seeing patients.
Tell us more about how you came to choose the field of medicine?
As a kid, I never went through the astronaut, teacher, pilot phase and if it tells you anything my nickname in middle school was “Doc.” Somehow, I always knew I was going into medicine.
How did you choose Emergency Medicine as your specialty?
Originally, I chose Pediatrics because it is a patient population I feel passionate about. Emergency Medicine evolved more naturally during my residency as I enjoyed it the most while at LeBonheur, a Level I Pediatric Trauma center (currently averaging around 90,000 ED visits annually!). It definitely was an exciting place to be.
What do you enjoy most about your day to day practice?
I find working with children rewarding because they are amazing patients who always find a way to make you laugh, even when they are suffering. I also enjoy helping parents in a time of crisis by walking them through the medical evaluation and treatment for their child. It is important to me they feel reassured and comforted about the care they are being given.
What led you to practice with MEMA?
At first, I came to Charlotte and worked as a hospitalist but quickly realized I missed the fast-paced ED setting. MEMA is an incredible group that really cares about its people and the care we give. It is rare these days to find an independent group that has survived the pressure to join a mega-group or a hospital staff.
Please share with us your journey of becoming a Director with MEMA.
The MEMA Board has always known the importance of the patient experience and how patients perceive the care we give. Our Novant partners know this too and it was time for MEMA to put someone in charge of guiding that narrative, so they opened the Service Excellence Director position in 2014.
As the Service Excellence Director, tell us more about what that role entails and what do you find most gratifying about leading your team?
A large part of my role is to help support the Medical Directors and their leadership by providing the resources they need concerning patient satisfaction. We do this by hearing directly from our patients, our staff in the ED, and studying the data to find ways for our teams to continue to improve the patient experience. Then we work to effectively communicate these priorities to our Novant partners.
It is also an important and often gratifying part of my role to encourage and support my colleagues in ways to make their experience better. Lifting-up and supporting our physicians, PAs, and NPs is a priority for me because we have chosen a stressful yet important role. In the coming months, I hope to focus more on that supportive role, which is exciting for me.
Have you received any awards or been recognized by your peers?
I have made the Charlotte Top Doctors listing a few times which is quite humbling to be honored by my colleagues.
What was your dream job when you were a child?
Well, I wanted to be batman, does that count?
Editor’s note: We think it does, Dr. Boertje!
If you could share any advice for other physicians who are interested in becoming a Director, what would that be?
While I don’t see myself as a source of wisdom, I personally see any effective leader as being a servant to those they lead, and we are fortunate to possess this culture at MEMA.
What about Charlotte excites you?
Charlotte is such an easy place to live and work and it is exciting to watch our city grow so fast.
Do you have any hobbies, interests, secret powers that are unique to you?
Admittedly, I am a CrossFit cult-member and love it even though I have no hope of ever going to the CrossFit games. Traveling is a passion and I am a total nerd whenever I visit a new place. Currently, I am slowly working my way through all the national parks…they are amazing!