Clinical Spotlight: Rodney Bates, DO

The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine employs a diverse team of clinical faculty. These physician-educators have expertise in educational theory and practice, as well as hands-on teaching.

While all of ICOM’s clinical faculty continue providing health care when not in the classroom, the progression of the novel coronavirus shows just how instrumental our faculty members are in the local medical community. Whether it’s through telemedicine or active patient care, ICOM’s clinical faculty are health care heroes helping to shape the future physicians of our region.

Q: Where are you currently seeing patients?

A:I see patients all across the Treasure Valley, from Mountain Home to Fruitland, including Nampa, Meridian and Boise.

Q: Have ave you seen anything like this COVID-19 pandemic during your prior clinical experience?

A: Not at all in my 15+ year career! On a smaller scale I assisted in caring for critically ill patients with similar effects from the Swine Flu (H1N1) epidemic in 2009 that seemed to pick and choose who it made severely ill.

Q: How has your day-to-day clinical experience or routine changed due to this pandemic?

A: Unprecedented self-reflection on a daily basis of my dedication to medicine, and an ongoing motivation to help ease pain and suffering.

Q: What are your thoughts/feelings when you walk into your hospital/clinic to start your shift?

A: Am I going to be a part of the solution with our team of dedicated nurses, staff and colleagues, and can I stay positive amid all of the negative but often realistic media coverage? Life could change for many of us. Patients certainly but also staff, administrators, and including our own families.

Q: Between academia, work, family and life in general — what do you do to safeguard your mental health and wellbeing? 

A: I try to keep a high level of optimism in my work and family life. I know that stress and fatigue can often bring out the unwanted side of me, especially for my family, but I try hard to maintain a level-headed and appropriate attitude of love and compassion for others. And above all, be thankful to God for the opportunities granted me, daily!

Q: What advice do you have for our students as they prepare to become physicians who could find themselves in the midst of a similar pandemic in the future?

A: Maintain a high level of enthusiasm for what you are becoming. Not just about what you will be doing. No one said this would be easy, but it will change you for the better. If only you allow it! We have the power within ourselves to make our situation better than it may really be. Be positive and always look forward to tomorrow. Not that searching for unicorns and rainbows will be the best thing to do in every situation, but you can certainly end your day by dreaming about them!

Dr. Rodney Bates serves as ICOM’s Chair of Primary Care.

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