Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Dr. Stephen Gist felt a powerful calling to go into medicine even at a young age. He received his BA from Southern Methodist University, where he majored in chemistry.
It wasn’t long before Gist decided medicine was the direction in which he wanted to go. He found it a natural transition. He applied for medical school and went to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, where he graduated top of his class. He did both his internship and residency at the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.
After, Gist joined an independent group, Medical Specialists Associated, and became a partner. He’s been a physician there for the past 21 years.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you?
Before I went to medical school, I felt a powerful, inner draw to go into medicine and serve. I grew up with a quadriplegic father, and I was basically a caregiver from the time I was seven years old. So, I had a strong sense of compassion for people with injuries, and I think it is what influenced my initial interest in physical medicine as well. From the start, even as a child, I wanted to go into science and study chemistry to be prepared for a career in medicine. When my career path took a different direction, I continuously felt the call, almost like a siren call. Finally, I answered it, and here I am at my practice.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Absolutely. I would say the fear of failure is what drove me to succeed because, for me, failure was not an option.
How did you get your first patient?
My first patient came through hospital consultations. I was brought in by other doctors to take care of admissions and to do internal medicine consultations in the hospital. Moreover, that’s the way I built my practice. I saw a lot of very sick patients from admission to discharge, so I built my practice up from seeing sick patients in the hospital initially.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision made within the last few months has been finding new ways to stay more technologically advanced. In both my personal and professional life, I always want to ensure we are using the latest technology in order to keep ourselves organized. With organization, everything else just runs smoother for yourself and for your business.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I think it’s my persistence. I set certain goals for myself, and I don’t stop until I reach those goals. I persist every day. I come to work every day. I see patients every day. When people ask me if I ever want to retire, I tell them I have no plans for retirement. I want to keep working as long as I can to keep working here for my entire life. So, I think what makes me successful is my desire to do good for other people.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I would say it’s when patients come to me and they tell me that I saved their life. I have patients that often do; they tell me, “You saved my life!” And I’d ask them, “How did I do that? I don’t know how I did that.” They say I just did. I don’t even know a lot of times what they’re referring to, but several of my patients have come and told me that I’ve saved their life, and they thank me for that.
What does the future hold for your practice? What are you most excited about?
I want to keep doing what I’m doing, seeing patients. I would like to be able to watch the children of our patients grow up as patients. What makes me excited is seeing the effects of preventive care on my patients, seeing that they’re staying healthy. I can keep patients healthy and out of the hospital, and I can help to prevent diseases. I think prevention is always much more exciting and rewarding than trying to bring cures.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your practice?
I recently purchased a new MacBook Pro. It’s a tool that I use daily. I have several PCs, but I like to work from my MacBook as much as possible.
What is the best thing about your current job?
It’s the people I see every day. It’s the satisfaction I get from seeing different people in different situations and meeting them at their point of need.