|Steven Alexander, M.D., is a new family medicine physician at FirstHealth Richmond Family Medicine.
Steven Alexander, M.D., never knows what to expect when he walks into an
exam room at FirstHealth Richmond Family Medicine in Rockingham.
He might open the door to find a child with a sinus infection, or a woman
with vaginal bleeding, or an elderly man with dementia.
“There’s really not a typical day for a primary care provider,” Dr. Alexander
says. “You see so much variety.”
Dr. Alexander has been with Richmond Family Medicine just since September, but
he’s already experienced the gamut of medicine. As a family care physician, he sees it all.
“You’re at the forefront of medicine,” he says. “You have to evaluate problems as they
come in, and you have to know how to deal with them. It’s a big responsibility, but it’s
Depending on the extent of the exam, some or all of the following tests might be performed during a routine physical:
- Blood pressure
- Skin cancer screening
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Fecal occult blood test
Additional tests for women:
- Pap smear
- Pelvis and breasts
Additional tests for men:
By definition, a primary care provider, or PCP, is a health care provider who sees
patients who are experiencing common medical problems. A PCP is usually, but not always,
a doctor. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners who consult with physicians
can also be primary care providers, and pediatricians and OB/GYN specialists often
serve as primary care providers for specific populations.
Because your PCP is probably the provider you will see most often, it’s important to
form a relationship with someone you’re comfortable with and who works in an office
with a friendly and helpful staff that is good about returning calls.
Aside from identifying and treating common medical conditions
and making referrals to specialists when necessary, a
good PCP will also educate his/her parents about healthy
lifestyle choices and provide preventive care. An annual
routine physical is one of the best ways to communicate
with your PCP about both.
“A lot of people don’t think they need to see a doctor,”
Dr. Alexander says, “but our best bet for staying healthy is
in terms of prevention. With a routine physical, we
can prevent so many of the medical problems
that affect our community—diabetes, obesity
and high blood pressure—and the complications
that arise from them. So many of
these things can be prevented by taking
one day out of the year to see your
doctor. Prevention is key to staying
healthy, and working with your doctor
will go a long way in maintaining
your quality of life.”