Dr. Gina Painter is a podiatric physician who practices general podiatric medicine and surgery in Great Falls, Montana. While she began her career as an independent practitioner, and has belonged to a multi-specialty group, an independent orthopedic group, and she is now employed by a hospital system.
“As a hospital based physician, you do lose some control of day to day operations. However, your ability to provide patient care and direction remains the same. The availability and collegiality between disciplines enhances the patient’s access to specialties and timeliness in interdisciplinary consultations. “said Painter. “Regardless of changing practice environments, the mix of pathology has remained 80 percent medicine and 20 percent surgery. I love the variety – I see all ages of patients for everything from preventative diabetic foot care, wound care, biomechanics, pediatrics and surgical care.”
Dr. Painter earned her DPM degree from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She completed her 2 year residency at Heritage Valley Health System (HVHS) in Beaver, Pennsylvania in 1995 and was chief surgical resident for HVHS.
“As a young physician, I had a lot to learn about the business of podiatric medicine,” states Painter. “I urge those who are just starting out to learn from their colleagues and ask questions – with age, experience and a few good mentors, I believe any type of podiatric practice can be professionally fulfilling and financially rewarding.”
Among her pearls of wisdom for new physicians is to get board certified as soon as possible. Painter is dual board certified with ABPM and ABFAS. She remembers that the first hospital where she obtained hospital rights, required board certification within two years of the qualification exam. She was grateful that the American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM) allowed her to fulfill this requirement quickly.
Other advice includes, as a resident take advantage of any and all opportunities to see unique patients and disease presentations, to ask questions and document all the experiences. You may never treat all foot and ankle deformities or diseases in your future practice but you need to know when and who to refer to. It may also help you find a niche if you are so inclined. You can build a practice completely on biomechanics of the lower extremity or wound care, etc.
Dr. Painter also believes in the importance of giving back. “As soon as your practice starts to get established, it’s important to give back to the podiatric community and the community where you live – these elements have given you the ability to practice the medicine you were trained for and make a good living.” She is currently Clinical Director for Fit Feet in Montana for Special Olympics, BOD of Treasure State Health Network, BOD and Treasurer of ABPM, and volunteers for numerous non-for-profit organizations.
When she’s not busy with her practice or volunteer work, she is spending time with her husband and two children. Living in Montana provides wonderful outdoor activities such as gardening, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, camping and fishing. My son Nathan, a junior in high school, plays soccer throughout the year. Short of the mini-van, I am a “soccer mom”. And while not on the pitch, my daughter Jillian, a freshman, dances ballet, jazz, contemporary and tap. She is also an avid chef and baker. You can usually find us both in the kitchen. Her husband of 24 years, Jerry, has been her support personally and professionally.