Leaders Voice; Words to Inspire | Nikkei special edition

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Choosing, and Being Chosen by, Shingu

Mikihiro Suzuki,
Suzuki Kids Clinic

Being a Doctor Is Meaningful Because People Need You

I am the Director of Suzuki Kids Clinic, which is in Shingu, a small town with a population of just 28,000. I chose to contribute to regional medical services there precisely because I felt I would be needed as a doctor.

I decided to open my own clinic when I was about 34. From the time I was working in a hospital in a nearby town, many patients from Shingu came to the hospital and depended on me, and I really felt that lots of people needed me. This was one of the reasons for my strong desire to contribute to the town.

Of course, when you are treating a lot of patients, you hardly get any time off. However, if I have time to rest, I would rather be helping someone. I think that’s the natural duty of a doctor.

I am also a practitioner, so I run the clinic on the side. I could hire other doctors and leave as much of the treatment as possible up to them, but if I accept that, the decision to start my own business would lose its meaning. That’s why I like to spend as much time as possible actually treating patients.

Mikihiro Suzuki(Suzuki Kids Clinic)

Community Development that Contributes to the Region beyond Medical Services

I always wondered whether my activities could connect to regional revitalization beyond my contribution to local medical services as a doctor. To achieve this goal, three years ago I embarked on a new community development project integrating a nursing care facility with other features including a park. Once I’ve made a decision, I’m the sort of person who will see it through no matter what others say, so I launched the project without a thought to profitability.

It started out as a business plan for a nursing facility, but I thought that if I could build a park and attract shops that would draw people in, it would invigorate the area, and the facilities would bring delight not just to the elderly, but also to children and nearby residents. In a sense, I hope that by continuing to transform the project into something far beyond medical services, it would make an even greater contribution to the region.

Now what I enjoy most is heading to the facility and seeing people of all generations—from children to senior citizens—mingling and playing in the park. Although the facility has only just opened, I want to keep on coming up with ideas that will link to regional revitalization.

Mikihiro Suzuki(Suzuki Kids Clinic)

Tireless Efforts to Make People Happy

I have ideas for realizing the same business model in other regions, but first of all I want to fulfill my duties as a doctor and make a solid contribution to this community. Future developments will come once I have accomplished that.

I think that there are two types of good doctors. The first are specialists who follow their own particular paths. Doctors who give people confidence that they are the only ones who can heal them are of course good doctors. The other type are doctors that lots of people rely on. I think that you become a dependable doctor by gauging patients’ feelings, even if they are unspoken, and providing each patient with personalized explanations and treatment. I am still only part-way to achieving this, but continually striving to be this kind of doctor is more important to me than anything else.

For that reason, I certainly don’t want to set limits for myself. I think there are lots of doctors in the world who are busier than me, and lots of people who are working hard. So I believe I have to keep on giving my very best, and never settle for being just “good enough.”

I want to save the patients I meet without fail. To this end, I pay meticulous attention and always consciously try to be a doctor who notices even the slightest change in a child.