Building a Career Around the Right Fit

Dr. Sam Clinch
Psychiatrist

For Dr. Sam Clinch, psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente’s Hidden Lake Medical Offices, the journey into medicine was equal parts pursuing what he loved and acknowledging what he didn’t want out of a career.

As an undergrad, Dr. Clinch followed his interest in both medicine and international business. He eventually settled on the former, though it took a little more soul-searching to discover where he fit in the medical world.

“Medicine always had a certain appeal to me. My father was a physician – a heart surgeon – and is as much a reason why I chose to go into medicine as a reason I decided to go into psychiatry. A surgeon is very busy and away from home a lot. There’s not a lot of room for work-life balance, a family life, and all of the personal things that were important to me. So getting rid of that overworked and unavailable stigma was a huge obstacle to overcome. That’s why I did a little bit of both medicine and business as an undergrad. But, at the end of the day, I knew I wanted that personal interaction. It’s cliché, but I wanted to help people. It seems obvious now, but that’s when I realized that I could be a doctor but I didn’t have to be a surgeon.”

After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska, Dr. Clinch wanted to stay at his alma mater for medical school, but was not admitted to its program. Figuring he’d have to travel to visit his home in Omaha anyway, he decided to attend St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies, rather than settling for a regional medical program. There, he discovered his love for psychiatry.

“As I was going through medical school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to specialize in. There were different aspects of some specialties I liked, but nothing that really clicked. It wasn’t until my last rotation – in psychiatry – that that finally happened. From the very first day, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

“What reinforced my decision was working with kids in New York who had been through 9/11 and struggled with PTSD symptoms. It was such a responsibility and an honor to take on that personal experience and help them work through their issues. It was challenging, but so rewarding.”

Dr. Clinch would later return to Nebraska to complete his residency, enjoying his time near friends and family. Although he had plenty of opportunity in and around Omaha, it was Kaiser Permanente’s integrated approach to medicine that drew him across state lines into the Colorado Permanente Medical Group (CPMG) family. The physicians of CPMG care for the patients of Kaiser Permanente Colorado.

“I’m a naturally social person. I like to collaborate, share what I know, and, probably more importantly, learn from others around me. I think that’s what helps you grow in your career. Here, it’s a very open, very collegial atmosphere. People bring up ideas and sometimes it’s something you may not have thought about that’ll end up benefiting your patient. That’s what really resonates with me – it’s a place I feel comfortable calling home and I feel I’m constantly growing and improving in my abilities to care for patients through my practice.”

Read more about what Dr. Clinch enjoys most about working for CPMG.