Doctor Richard James Jones is a qualified general medical practitioner originally born in Scotland, but now based out of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Firm in the knowledge that he wanted to become a doctor at a young age, he worked hard to maintain his grades through school while still being active in extracurricular activities.
As Richard graduated from secondary school and began his medical education, he harbored a desire to become a surgeon, much like his father. However, after some time spent pursuing that goal, he realized that he desired more immersive patient interaction than traditionally took place between a surgeon and their charges. A big believer in preventative medicine, Dr. Richard Jones also wanted to be part of how a patient came to avoid surgery, if at all possible. It was at this moment he decided to become a general practitioner. After a few more years of medical college, he began practicing professionally.
A taste for travel and a thirst to give medical aid wherever it was needed led him to serve as a doctor in not only the United Kingdom, but also New Zealand, and ultimately, Dubai. Here, in the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Richard Jones works full time as a family medicine physician at Mediclinic City Hospital Dubai. Providing medical advice and treatment for families—everything from treating an infant to treating the elderly and all ages in between—gives Dr. Richard Jones a deep sense of fulfillment and joy.
When not working, Dr. Richard Jones fills his free time with family, friends, and rugby, a sport of which he is an avid fan.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I am the third doctor in my family. My grandfather was a general practitioner. My father was a surgeon. Considering my mother was a nurse, medicine felt like where I belonged. I love knowing I can help people and provide support when they need it. As a general practitioner, I wake up every morning looking forward to going to work and spending time with my patients.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day is never truly typical. I spend part of the morning doing follow-up consultations with patients or visiting them in the hospital. After lunch, my day consists of seeing patients. Usually, each appointment takes about twenty minutes. I do that until about 6 pm. Then, if I’m able to do some paperwork, I will, but I try to get home in good time, truthfully. Spending time with my children and my new partner are important to me. Keeping my family happy ensures that my work will continue to be smooth.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I work with a great team of people right now. We generally suggest new ideas, even if they seem wild or unfounded, and discuss them freely. It’s nice to be in a place where open ideas and discussion flow between colleagues and administration without undue pressure. There is no question or idea that is thrown out without first discussing it. If we’ve come to the point where we think an idea can be implemented, we’ll test it out for a bit. If the test goes well, it’ll be applied to the entire office. If the test doesn’t go well, we will take what we learned from it and figure out the best way to proceed. It’s easy to thrive in an environment where you’re being heard and you’re able to contribute your insights.
What’s one trend that excites you?
That’s a good question. The most exciting thing I see in medicine right now is that doctors are recognizing the need for certain kinds of change and making adjustments. In the past, many people have relayed a negative opinion about how doctors have operated from a distance, but these days, as the medical field continues to change, we are better able to connect with our patients. Doctors are making the effort to change the general opinion of the profession and people are responding.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think the most important thing you can do is take time away from work. It might be a few minutes to take a walk to get a coffee, or it might be a brief moment between patients to recharge, but doing so is important. This keeps the mind fresh, the energy levels up, and helps you give your best to your patients. I am most productive when I am fresh, recharged, and relaxed.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Work harder in school. I loved sports, socializing, and I did well enough in school, but I didn’t put the focus I should have on academics and that gave me a bit of an obstacle when trying to get into medicine. Thankfully, I did get through the classes, in the end. However, had I put more effort in during school, it would have been much easier for me to get into this profession that I’m passionate about.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I can tell you that people’s view of medicine is changing. In the medical field, especially here in Dubai, we are not making a lot of money. We earn enough to be comfortable. I don’t think people realize the many hours of labour and study that doctors put in, no matter their medical speciality. Often, what we are paid doesn’t even out with the hours I keep. The takeaway from this is that if you’re seeing a doctor, you’re seeing someone who honestly wants to help you heal and recover from whatever health issue brought you into the office, not someone out to strike it rich.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Keep your home happy. Your home life and work life affect one another. If your home is out of sorts and your family is unhappy it will affect how well you’re able to treat and help your patients. If you want to be at your best, be good to your family and keep your home happy.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I learned long ago how important it is to really talk to your patients. Knowing them well helps you to provide the best care for them. It’s important. Spending actual time with our patients means we’ll cultivate the best partnership possible. When your patients know you’re listening to them and working to understand their needs, you’re able to better serve them. We’re in this profession to serve our patients, to educate them about what ails or worries them, and to provide guidance so that appropriate decisions can be made. No matter how much we think we know, there’s always something else for us to learn—whether it be about medicine or about an individual patient. Some situations are more complex than others, so be open to talking to colleagues if needed.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I think something many doctors face at some point in their career is their own ego. We think we know more than we do at times, and it’s important to spend time in self reflection. I make it a point to speak to patients to learn what made them unhappy with something I’ve done. I’ll admit, sometimes their information or response stings a bit. That being said, each time I’ve applied their suggestion or made changes based on a patient’s recommendation, things have gone better for me and for my practice. The feedback is very important and really provides us with much-needed insights.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m not a businessman, but if someone can find a way to connect patients and doctors directly it would be incredibly helpful. It is far better for a patient to be concerned about an issue for 20 minutes than for them to wait 12 hours to come into the office for an examination. Asking a simple question might give them peace of mind and a good night’s rest. It would be a game changer for the medical profession if we could be more closely connected to our patients.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought my new partner a pepper mill. It was just south of 100 dollars, but the return has been wonderful. We love cooking together. This single item has brought us closer together, provided us with more conversations, and enabled us to sit down over a glass of wine and a nice meal together. It might seem silly to think this one pepper mill made such a difference, but it really has. She’s really enjoying it and so am I.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Yes, I visit GPNotebook daily and I have for years. It’s been something I can rely on to have up to date information and alternatives to treatments. I can’t imagine working without it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
If anyone is interested in learning about professional rugby, a sport I positively adore, then I would recommend reading A Game For Hooligans: The History of Rugby Union by Huw Richards. It is an authoritative general history on how rugby has evolved over the decades by introducing a World Cup, embracing professionalism, and creating a global market in players.
What is your favorite quote?
“Carpe diem,” is my favorite, go-to quote.
- Patient-centric care makes a huge difference in patient results.
- Waking up daily looking forward to work brings joy, and so does keeping your home life happy.
- Prioritizing recharging yourself and caring for yourself makes you healthier and better equipped to care for your patients.
- Work hard in school and you’ll have the tools to get anywhere in life.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.