By Samantha Cronk
Photos by Josh Triggs
MARTINSBURG – When practicing medicine, Dr. Travis Schildt knows treating a patient is more than just a medical mindset but getting to know and treat the patient as a person.
That is why, when deciding to open his own solo practice, Schildt, 38, chose to be a family medical doctor. Schildt opened Family Medicine of Martinsburg two years ago, March 2016, as his first solo practice after having worked in a range of different types of practices for more than seven years.
Schildt is a graduate of West Virginia University for both his undergraduate degree in chemistry, graduating in 2002, and completing medical school in 2006. Schildt credits his sister’s childhood diagnosis of leukemia as a large motivator in becoming a doctor and spending so much time in hospitals as a result.
Schildt is a graduate of Berkeley Springs High School, and upon graduating from medical school, knew he wanted to return to the Eastern Panhandle to practice.
“I’m from this area, and Berkeley County is in a big growth area,” he said. “I’m local so I feel like people can relate to me, and I can to them. I wasn’t born in a rich family, so I understand the struggles that people can go through.”
Since opening Family Medicine of Martinsburg, the practice has been well embraced by the community, Schildt said. Schildt made the decision to open his own private practice after working in the medical industry for several years as a way to make his own decisions and be his own boss.
“Essentially, I can be my own person, set my own rules and be my own boss. I knew this was what was best for my personality,” he said.
Upon establishing his own practice, Schildt goal was to become self-sustaining as quickly as possible, something that he has achieved due to the community great response. Schildt typically sees between 20-25 patients per day and is accepting new patients.
While he is accepting new patients, Schildt is determined to maintain his practice at a level where he is the only doctor on staff, creating a personal environment for all of his patients.
“I want to keep it small. I have worked in different settings where you don’t know a patient at all, like if you’re covering for another doctor. I don’t like that. Any patient that walks in here, I want to know that I’ve at least met them and know a little bit about them,” he said.
That ability to follow his patients from birth through aging is why Schildt ultimately chose family medicine over his other potential preference, pediatrics.
“My favorite part is getting to know the patients, especially with family medicine. You get to meet the whole family and you follow them essentially the entire course. You know them more than medically but also personally. Sometime a large part of my patients’ visits is social than just medical,” he said.
He said is important to have a social aspect of treating a patient because, as a doctor, you’re not just treating an illness or medical condition but treating the entire person.
The personal connection also helps when having to deliver a tough diagnostic.
“I think it makes that conversation a little easier even though it’s a hard conversation to have. No one ever wants to have that conversation, but it’s easier to do if you’ve known them for a little while,” Schildt said.
In addition to working at Family Medicine of Martinsburg, Schildt also assist Hospice of the Eastern Panhandle take calls and care for patients.
While enjoying working at his own practice, it also comes with its challenges. Schildt said his greatest challenge as a solo practitioner and doctor is working with insurance companies.
Family Medicine of Martinsburg is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located at 651 Foxcroft Avenue, Suite 110 in Martinsburg. The medical practice can be reached at 304-264-3660 or on its website at www.familymedicineofmartinsburg.com. The practice also has a Facebook page as “Family Medicine of Martinsburg.”