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Allison Stickney ’18 – Graybill Medical Group

Dr. Pearson greeting a patient with his guitar.
Dr. Pearson greeting a patient with his guitar.

A Week in the Life of the Magic Doc from the Department of Funology

Why did the cookie go to the doctor?

He was feeling crummy.

So you might be greeted by Dr. Pearson, a family physician at Graybill Medical Group in Carlsbad, California. With scrub pockets full of cards and coins for magic tricks, he brings fun to every patient visit. Sometimes people can get caught up in the science of becoming a doctor: it’s about human anatomy, the biochemical reactions, the patient’s stats: the part of the machine that’s not working properly. Dr. Pearson, however, sees each patient as an individual, not as a series of imbalanced lab results. He treats his patients like family, spending time at the beginning of each visit inquiring about what’s been going on recently in their lives before diving into the medicine.


Pearson Externship 2
Dr. Pearson with long-time patient.

Many people dread going to the doctor. They may associate it with sickness or bad news. Dr. Pearson helps ease his patients’ nerves by having fun with them. He does magic tricks, brings out his guitar and sings, wears a clown nose, and tells jokes. By doing so, he establishes a personal connection with each of his patients, creating an atmosphere that is comfortable and open. He then delivers information in a way that is fresh, easy to understand, and will hopefully stick in the patient’s mind. Will you remember what your doctor said about the importance of sunglasses and sunscreen? Maybe not, unless he’s Dr. Pearson, wearing a pair of oversized sunglasses to illustrate his point.


Pearson Externship
Selfie in the office with the staff of Graybill Medical Group Carlsbad.

I was allowed to step into the Department of Funology at Graybill Medical Group for a week and have a unique and amazing experience. I learned so much about bedside manner and how to treat patients. Listening to them is key, and you need to be gentle in correcting their assumptions. By having a positive attitude, you not only make your own day flow more smoothly, but also help make your patients happier. When explaining complex medical processes, break it down into the simplest terms. Being a doctor is about educating people, and patients won’t follow the guidelines given to them unless they know how important it is. I’ve learned a lot about how medicine is like a puzzle. You take what you’re given by the patient and do your best to sort it out and develop the appropriate treatment plan. It was great for me to see how DOs differ from MDs. DOs are essentially like MDs and chiropractors in one because, in addition to their medical and surgical training, they are able to manipulate the body in order to help their patients, so they don’t have to send people to physical therapy as often as MDs. I feel that this experience has been paramount in shaping my future career path.

I’ve never met a doctor like Dr. Pearson. Rarely do you find a doctor that is so funny, clever, and caring. After spending a week with him, I can confidently say that he genuinely cares about his patients, and not just from a medical standpoint. When he asks how you’re doing, he really does want to hear the answer. We live in a world where people rush from one point to another. He could easily get caught up in this and shuffle patients in and out the door, placing time limits on each appointment, yet Dr. Pearson does the exact opposite. He will spend as long as he needs to with a patient, even though it will cause him to run behind in his schedule. Because for him, it’s not about numbers, time restraints, or money. It’s about helping others, and improving the lives of those around him by making them smile.

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