Dr. Michael Shanik is an endocrinologist living in Syosset, New York and has been practicing medicine for about 12 years. He was inspired to go into medicine because of the nature of the field, being dedicated to helping people as a profession. He finds it rewarding and gratifying being able to help people.
During his professional training, while being exposed to different aspects of medicine, Dr. Shanik found endocrinology to be the most appealing. Primarily, what attracted him to the specialty was the understanding of the physiology of how hormones work in the body and that typically, most conditions can be diagnosed based on the understanding of the physiology. He also gravitated to this specialty when he learned that there are direct treatments for just about every condition in endocrinology.
Dr. Shanik finds that the biggest challenge he faces in his career is balancing the time required in the office to adhere to all the regulations and the requirements of the field with providing good, quality patient care. Another aspect he finds challenging is keeping up with all the new information constantly coming out and staying on top of everything new in the field, which he believes is crucial.
Dr. Shanik has seen many changes in the diabetes therapy area over the years, namely regarding patient care and technology. He is thrilled to have better treatments that help patients control blood sugar levels and has also seen ground-breaking research that established multiple treatments that are improving the long-term outcomes of diabetes patients.
Dr. Shanik is thrilled by the many improvements in technology he’s seen over the years, especially related to diabetes. Because of technological advancements, he’s better able to monitor patients and get more data, especially regarding blood sugar levels. He finds that technology has also aided him in being more interactive with patients and also providers, enabling him to gain experience from the data and help to better manage and treat the patients’ diabetes. Technology improvements have also impacted the way he and his colleagues manage their daily routines, utilizing electronic records and prescriptions.
Dr. Shanik is excited that there’s a lot in development that could treat diabetes, even hopefully towards a cure. Particularly for type 1 diabetes, he sees that there are many advances and we should see a lot of developments in the coming years.
While Dr. Shanik hasn’t practiced medicine outside the US, he recognizes that he has many opportunities and availability of a wide range of medications and research in this country. From what he has learned over the years, speaking with his peers from other countries at conferences, access to medications in the US is better and there is a myriad of diagnostic testing that’s available only in the US. He’s regularly experienced his peers from other countries asking questions about treatments they are not as familiar with because they don’t have the availability to utilize it yet in their country.
With hopefully even better treatments coming in the next few years, considering the many breakthroughs in recent years for diabetes, Dr. Shanik is glad to be in a country where access to these medications is better. However, he also recognizes that one of the biggest factors is affordability, which has been a challenge for patients who need these medications.
Dr. Shanik enjoys participating in market research studies because he thinks it’s interesting to see what research is being performed and is important in endocrinology. He appreciates the opportunity to help, contribute, and be able to see how upcoming changes in the healthcare system are unfolding. He finds that even the questions being asked during his study participation often provide insight into how patients are feeling and some of the difficulties that patients living with diabetes deal with regularly.
The most rewarding thing for Dr. Shanik about working with diabetes patients is when they see the results and feel better when their blood sugars are better controlled. When he has a patient who is under better control, he always hopes that not only do they feel better, but that he can also improve outcomes and reduce the risk of complications in the future. It’s very gratifying to him that he can explain that to a patient and they feel a sense of accomplishment.
Day-to-day, Dr. Shanik finds that medicine is a very busy occupation and he gets pulled in many different directions. But, one thing that’s always very rewarding that gets him through the difficult times is the gratifying feeling that patients have when they see the results, know they’re doing well, and express their appreciation for what he’s done and the hard work he’s put in.
Dr. Shanik has also been fortunate to participate in a number of ground-breaking clinical trials that have established some changes in how diabetes is treated and managed today.
The advice that Dr. Shanik would give to a medical student just about to enter into practice in endocrinology would be that there’s a lot of opportunities and you should get involved in different aspects of care—not only different types of treatment, but also in research or even teaching. He recommends this because he finds that it makes his daily routine more varied and helps him get through some of the difficult, stressful times when he’s overwhelmed. He also believes that being involved in different things helps him be a more well-rounded physician.
Dr. Shanik believes the main challenge for physicians in the future is keeping up with the field the physician is in; understanding the latest research, how to apply it, and the different guidelines unveiled as new treatments become available. An additional challenge he notes is managing the practice that physicians are working in, understanding the challenges of managing the paperwork, requirements, authorizations, and the logistics of a busy practice—all while maintaining quality care.
Because he is drawn to an area of specialty that has the direct ability to evaluate a condition, be able to treat it, and improve outcomes, if Dr. Shanik were ever going to switch to a different area of specialty, he would look for something similar in that regard, such as cardiology. He notes that the cardiology practice area has also established myriad treatments that offer a long-term benefit for the patient.
Because Dr. Shanik has always been an avid sports fan, if he ever chose to leave medicine altogether, his dream job would be to become a professional athlete. He was always a baseball fan and played for many years and is an avid Yankees fan, so he would likely choose to be a pro baseball player. When Dr. Shanik is not busy practicing medicine, he likes being involved in varied activities. He goes to the gym regularly and likes to spend time with his family. He has two very active daughters and spending his free time with them is always enjoyable.