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Billings ClinicVIEW PROFILE
Jeff McKenzie, M.D. (MED ’09), trained in anesthesiology at high-profile, high-volume academic medical centers — Mayo Clinic and Duke University. He recently returned to his hometown, Billings, Montana, where he’s the only cardiac anesthesiologist board certified in transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). He gets to keep a connection to Mayo Clinic at his new position — Billings Clinic is part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network*.
I’m the only cardiac fellowship-trained TEE-boarded anesthesiologist at the hospital. My subspecialty is cardiovascular anesthesiology, but I do the full gamut of surgical cases and obstetrics. Working in the OR is a team sport. I’m getting to know the nurses, techs, surgeons, physician assistants and pharmacists, and they all help me do my job. There are a lot of really great people here.
Billings Clinic is not a giant hospital, but it’s the largest in the state. It has a huge geographic referral base, so we do many challenging surgeries. We serve most of Wyoming, Montana and much of the Dakotas.
I wanted to have access to more cardiac surgery cases and more challenging cases than I had in the community practice in Olympia, Washington, where I practiced for two years before this. I also wanted to be closer to be family — I love Montana! It’s nice to be back home.
I loved working in academic medicine. We do have medical students and residents at Billings Clinic.
It was rolled out during my last year of residency, and I was an Epic superuser. There are a lot of headaches with changing your workflows. Be patient, listen to the experts and help each other out.
The rigors of training have given way, but afterward patients need you. There’s always something work-related pulling at my time. Finding enough time is a moving target.
I have two children, ages 7 and 5, and we had them during the two hardest years of my residency and fellowship. Life doesn’t always fit into medicine, so you just have to have kids when you can. I still don’t see my kids as often as I want.
My wife and I are having our third child in February 2019. We do a lot of family things and volunteer at our church. I think it’s important to take time for yourself and do things that aren’t necessarily productive but are purely recreational.
*Mayo Clinic Care Network is a network of like-minded organizations that share a common commitment to improving the delivery of health care in their communities through high-quality, data-driven, evidence-based medical care. Members of the network connect with Mayo Clinic through products and services including e-consults and AskMayoExpert. Since it was launched in 2011, Mayo Clinic Care Network has grown to include more than 40 health care organizations across the U.S. and in China, Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
See past New Chapter stories here.