Dr. Alex Kocsik entered Crozer Health’s Family Medicine Residency Program in the fall of 2022 as an intern. We interviewed her last year in the first of a three-part series following her progress through the program. We caught up with her again in December for a conversation about her second year. She shared that she is hitting her stride as she’s gained experience. “The transition from intern to resident was a lot smoother than the transition from medical school to intern year! I think the biggest change that I’ve found in how I’m practicing medicine and how I feel is just more confidence. Through trial and error, through seeing hundreds of patients, you just start to feel more confident in yourself and how you counsel patients and talk with them and you start to see more patients as we increase our patient loads from first year to 2nd year. It’s been wonderful that I’ve got to spend so much more time here at ChesPenn, which is where I want to be.”
Dr. Kocsik also reflected that gynecology has become a major focus of her practice at ChesPenn. She’s found that many patients are happily surprised to learn that as a family medicine provider she can perform a full range of women’s health services, including placing Nexplanon contraceptive implants and IUDs, performing Pap tests, and providing obstetric care. “I’ve been placing more long-term contraception and doing a lot of obstetric care. Women’s health has become a big part of my practice.” For patients with limited transportation, this ability to access such a wide range of outpatient care with the same provider is a significant benefit. An additional benefit is the ability to build strong bonds of trust between patients and their provider. At the same time, the diversity of patients seen in Upper Darby with its large immigrant population and the wide range of ages and health needs is an ideal learning environment.
“As part of our program we do continuity deliveries so when we follow these patients throughout their pregnancy and deliver the babies which I think also really benefits the patients’ experience. To have your provider follow you throughout and deliver the baby is huge and many of the pregnant patients that we see here don’t speak English. Having that familiar face really does establish that continuity and comfort that patients deserve. I’ve actually gotten to meet the first baby of a pregnant patient that I followed.” Dr. Koscik and Preceptor Dr. Ashu Singh are currently collaborating on a new project to improve postpartum outcomes.
Another program that Dr. Kocsik has become passionate about involves distribution of self-monitoring blood pressure cuffs as part of the Million Hearts Program. On the day of our interview she provided a cuff to Jaheda Begum (pictured above). Like many of our providers, she is finding that patients are enthusiastic about being able to monitor their blood pressure at home and have their numbers transmitted to their provider. She enjoys educating patients about their hypertension and pointed out that some patients’ blood pressure begins to increase as early as their 30s and that they may not understand why managing their hypertension is important, even at a young age, in preventing the long-term risks of stroke and heart attack.
December 31st marks the halfway point of Dr. Kocsik’s residency. She commented that “it’s flying by. When I’m here at ChesPenn this is exactly what I will be doing with my career. I know exactly that I want to work in an FQHC after leaving residency. It was coming here to ChesPenn that I really fell in love with not only outpatient medicine but family medicine and FQHC work specifically. I find that working with patients who come from a varied background – where you’re seeing in a day-to-day patients who have been followed here for years, patients who haven’t seen a doctor in 10 years, and patients who might have just moved to the US from another country and haven’t had any health screenings. There’s an older couple that I’ve been seeing every couple of months. They always come in together and bring their kids with them. We have wonderful conversations. I can set small goals and they’re excited to come back and tell me their progress. I also saw a woman in her 80s who hadn’t seen a doctor in 15 years. We got her back on track, got her blood pressure under control, and last time I saw her she broke down crying and told me that I was the best doctor she had ever met and that she felt so cared for. It was just a beautiful moment.”
Dr. Kocsik’s preceptors are impressed by her dedication. Dr. Phillip Bixby commented that “Alex is one of our most enthusiastic residents at Chespenn Upper Darby, bringing lots of positive energy to the office every time she is here. She delivers thorough, patient-centered care that I know her patients appreciate. She works well with our Chespenn staff and is motivated to serve the Upper Darby community. We are lucky to have her as a tracker here!”
In her senior year, Dr. Kocsik hopes to continue developing her skills in women’s health, possibly spending some time at Planned Parenthood. She’ll begin exploring the possibility of working at ChesPenn or one of the many great FQHCs in the Philadelphia area. We are looking forward to checking in with her as she completes her residency to discover where her journey will take her as she launches her career in community healthcare.