The 3 C’s to Finding the Perfect Doctor

Dr. Eric Grigsby

Imagine for a moment you are in a small room, with some unfamiliar instruments on the wall. You might be a little nervous and as soon as the doctor enters, your impressions begin to form. What goes through your mind when you see your doctor or health care provider for the first time?

This simple question gets to the most important part of the healing relationship: Trust. Trust is mutual, and is complicated. It is much more complicated than respect which is actually reciprocal. We tend to respect people who show us respect. You may respect that your Doctor trained at a prestigious institution, is well known in the community, or is a civic leader. But you still may not trust him or her – yet.

In life, and especially in medicine, it is easy to trust someone who is excellent at their job. Competence, then, is the first of the “3 C’s” of trust. How do you know if your Doctor is competent? Begin with a little research. Online reviews may not be valid especially when anonymous. Instead, consider where the doctor went to medical school and trained to be a specialist. There is a real difference in medical schools. If you are unfamiliar with these institutions, consider your primary care doctor. Their referral may be the best clue that your new doctor will also be good. Remember this fact of life: quality people work with quality people.

The second “C” of trust is simple: Caring. It’s hard to know what motivated your Doctor to go to medical school. Was it a desire to earn the joy of helping and healing or was money or professional status the end game? The good news is that your human intuition is very strong when it comes to caring. You will feel if your Doctor cares about you. Listen to your instincts.

The third “C” of trust is complicated: Character.How will you know if your Doctor is a person of high character? Surely, you want a person with a strong moral compass helping you make health-care decisions. Look for simple clues. Does your doctor admit if a treatment is not going to plan rather than shifting the blame to something or someone else, or even on you, the patient? These are clues to integrity, character, and humility.

There is one final component to the three “C”s. Now that you have some tools to see if you can develop trust in your Doctor, remember that your Doctor needs to trust you too. Doctors are presented with complicated medical riddles, prescribe potent medications, perform difficult procedures, and many give our heart and soul to our patients 20 times a day. Trusting the patient is equally important. As I enter that same room, I am hoping I will get the information I need. Will you act on my best advice? Will you respectfully challenge me if I am not hearing your needs?

Trust is the door through which we reach our mutual hope for a healthier life. Together, we can arrive at a place of trust.

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Dr. Johansson comes to us as a fellowship-trained and board-certified pain management specialist with nearly a decade of experience. She completed her fellowship training at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD where she then became the associate program director of the pain medicine fellowship and an assistant professor of military and emergency medicine. She graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, Virginia, was Pre-medicine at San Diego State University, and received her BSN from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Her breadth of experience comes from a full career of serving in the United States Navy where she was the recipient of multiple academic and military service awards including a Meritorious Service Medal, three Navy Commendation Medals, and numerous other individual, unit, and campaign awards. She has multiple published works and is the founding member of a military Pain Medicine Special Interest Group with the American Society of Regional Anesthesia.

In her free time, Dr. Johansson enjoys traveling, is newly married, loves dogs, and enjoys cooking and baking, as well as other creative pursuits. She has a particular interest in advanced procedural techniques for chronic pain relief and the effects of lifestyle on pain and healing. She looks forward to continuing our mission of providing our patients with the best care, every day.

Eric Grigsby, MD, MBA

CEO & Founder of Neurovations

Dr. Eric Grigsby enjoys a national reputation for excellence in the field of Pain Management. He has a background as a researcher, teacher and clinician and brings over 30 years of clinical experience to the Napa Pain Institute. Dr. Grigsby attended elementary and secondary school in his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Economics from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He formed an interest in Pain Management as a career while working at Boston Children’s Hospital in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery.

After graduating from Boston University Medical School in 1984, Dr. Grigsby trained in General Surgery, Anesthesiology, and Pain Management at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He was invited to join the Medical Staff and teach at the Mayo Medical School until moving to California in 1989. The Dean of the University of California at Davis Medical Center then invited Dr. Grigsby to establish their first Pain Management Center, where he served as Medical Director until 1992. Following his post at UC Davis, Dr. Grigsby established his private Pain Management practice in Napa, California.

Today, he and his staff of over 50 professionals consult with patients throughout Northern California and the western United States.  More recently, Dr Grigsby completed his Masters in Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He speaks nationally on topics such as non-operative treatment of spinal disorders, the safe use of medications for the treatment of pain, and the legal and regulatory issues relating to the proper treatment of patients with chronic illness.