October 2022 Partner Spotlight

Dr. Katherine Bumstead is Practicing Excellence’s Partner of the Month for October! As Providence Medical Group Northwest’s Director of Primary Care and a family practice physician for 23 years, Dr. Bumstead shares her knowledge on how she utilizes Practicing Excellence’s Clinician Experience Program (CEP) to build skills for herself and her team. Check out her answers below!

How long have you been in medicine, and what are your favorite parts about it?

I have been a practicing FP physician in the same community for 23 years. I love that every day I’m in the clinic seeing patients, I’m a detective, an expert, and a teacher. I’m learning new things. I’m meeting new people and seeing others I’ve cared for over 20 years. I know and care for the whole person, helping them through tough times and celebrating their wins. Every day I share laughter with our clinic team and our patients. Altogether, this feeds my soul, fills my cup, and brings me joy.


Can you tell us one of your favorite patient stories from working in medicine?

There are so many.

There was a man who, after an injury,  escalated to taking high doses of prescribed narcotics. He then came to see me, and we successfully tapered him down and transitioned to suboxone without him having to quit his job. He is the breadwinner for his family and caregiver for his grandchild.

There was an elderly woman with dementia who did not go to the ED on a Friday night. Having been directed, by others, to go, I called her son and we spoke and we came up with a plan. The letter of appreciation sent by the son and a photo of his mom celebrating her 94th birthday hang by my desk to this day.

One patient who knew Evel Knievel, another who had signed programs from famous European opera singers, so many amazing people, and life stories.


How has the Clinician Experience Program helped you as a clinician? 

It’s a great resource in coaching new physicians and APCs. It puts into words the skills that many of us take years to figure out and refine. Many of the tips serve as a reminder of what we should do every time and why it is so important in the patient encounter. Listening to tips validates many of the skills that I have found to be successful in my practice. They also offer new words to choose and approaches to add to my “toolbox”.


Could you tell us about a time that a tip you learned came in handy, with a patient or colleague, for example?

I have shared many tips with my colleagues, especially around time and time perception, difficult encounters, and utilizing compassion to be curious. “Late” patients, “pain” patients, and so many others all have a story. They can also turn a clinician’s day sideways so being prepared is a must. 

With my leader hat on….

I love the “How to Dyad” tip set and the “Leader Clinician Rounding” tip set. I am a dedicated “rounder” and have shared both with our clinician lead/manager dyad teams.


What new skills are you looking forward to developing?

I am always working to develop and learn new/more skills in coaching and supporting new physicians and APC clinicians so we can help them develop practice styles, habits, and patterns that guard against burnout.

We train too hard and for too long to then not have a fulfilling career in medicine.


What do you look forward to most after each week’s new tip?

Hearing our team’s stories of success in trying the new tip!

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