The family physician and visionary shares the importance of balancing his career with other commitments and his thoughts on telemedicine.
For well over two years now, the COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting almost every area of our lives. While the outbreak has overwhelmed healthcare systems around the world, many doctors and other healthcare workers have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that their patients receive proper treatments.
At VBD Magazine, we salute and celebrate these selfless individuals who have the strength, tenacity, wisdom, and knowledge to keep us healthy. One such medical professional is prominent family physician Dr. Lucien W. Jones, who is highly revered for the trusted care he provides and the way he does it. Dr. Jones has been practicing medicine in Jamaica since 1978.
During his distinguished career, he held many notable positions and has been the recipient of numerous accolades. He was Past President of the Medical Association of Jamaica (1993- 1995), Vice Chairman of the National Road Safety Council (1995 – Present) and was honored by the Government of Jamaica in 2012 when he was awarded The Order of Distinction, Commander Class, for outstanding and important service to Jamaica. In 1995, Dr. Jones was privileged to deliver the highly regarded Grace Kennedy Lecture - The Jamaican Society: Options for Renewal.
Speaking exclusively with VBD Magazine, Dr. Jones shares the importance of balancing his career with other commitments, the challenges he faced in his career, and his thoughts on telemedicine. It’s your time to reset and refresh, so read on!
VBD: Why did you pursue a career in medicine?
DR. JONES: My older cousin the late Dr. Louis Jones was my inspiration. Unfortunately, he drowned shortly after becoming a surgeon. Initially, I was accepted in college to pursue studies to become a neurologist, but later shifted to family medicine after a long discussion with the Professor of Medicine at that time.
On a deeper level, it’s all about the service to mankind that really inspired me to choose this profession. Both of my parents were teachers who lived exemplary lives. My dad, a great dad, became a politician and rose to the rank of Minister of Government and President of the Senate in Jamaica. He lived a life of service, helping many Jamaicans to achieve a better standard of living. My father was my hero and he motivated me to live a life of service to others.
VBD: What experiences contributed to your success as a family physician?
DR. JONES: I love people and really enjoy talking with them and resolving their health challenges. Early in my career, I was taught the importance of listening to the patient so that I can clearly diagnose the problem. So, the lesson is that careful clinical assessment is more important than depending on high tech equipment to arrive at a diagnosis, as useful as they are in the practice of modern medicine. In addition, as a doctor who is a Christian, I pray continuously for my patients.
VBD: What challenges did you have to overcome in your career?
DR. JONES: I have been practicing now for over 40 years, but it was hard as a young physician to establish a practice. I had to be patient while I gained the confidence of patients. As an entrepreneur, I had to adjust to managing staff and the business aspects of the practice. Reserving time for continued medical education is now less of an issue.
Now, my main challenge is getting patients to understand the importance of lifestyle changes—diet, exercise, reduced stress, and taking medications regularly. As we go through the COVID-19 pandemic, I had to spend more time with patients, just to talk about their issues. Oftentimes, this is spontaneous and not scheduled, but can be more critical than medical advice or prescription.
VBD: The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live and work. What steps have you had to take to adjust to our “new normal”?
DR. JONES: Now, I’m wearing masks all day. There is more space between myself and patients during the period when I am hearing about the challenges being faced. In addition, I limit the number of patients in the waiting room.
There is a special examination room for patients suspected of having COVID-19. Thankfully, COVID-19 vaccines are now available. My staff and I have had our 2 shots, plus the booster.
VBD: Do you think telemedicine is a viable and beneficial option for a patient and physician?
DR. JONES: Absolutely, but not for me. I believe I would be offering my patients less than optimum care if I were to depend on that method. I know it has become popular, but I have resisted going that route even though we are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, because I am not comfortable treating my patients from a distance. My patients are grateful that I can still diagnose them face-to-face and that we continue to do home visits.
VBD: What advice do you have for someone wanting to pursue a career in medicine?
DR. JONES: Go for it. For the right reasons though—for the love of humanity, and for the help you can offer, and not only for the remuneration and status.
VBD: How do you balance your career with other commitments?
DR. JONES: By the grace of God, I find the time to fulfill my commitments. Recently, I have modified my schedule so that I work four days a week as a physician, taking off weekends and Thursdays.
(L-R) The Hon Earl Jarrett, Deputy Chairman of The Jamaica National Group of Companies & CEO of Jamaica National Building Society, The Most Honorable Andrew Michael Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, & Dr. Lucien W. Jones
I am privileged to be the de facto leader of the National Road Safety Council of Jamaica, bearing the title Vice Chairman, with the chairman being The Most Honorable Andrew Michael Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica. This position carries with it international obligations and of course requires overseas travel to attend meetings, workshops, and conferences. Further, I am a trained evangelist with responsibilities at my place of worship. Also, for many years, I have been blogging.
Helping me to balance all that I do is Vivienne, my wife of 48 years and counting. A faithful, loving, and patient wife is a gift from God. Vivienne is now retired, formerly worked as a Vice President at Victoria Mutual Building Society in Jamaica. We got married when I was just 22 years old and still in med school. Vivienne has been my rock and life partner. I’m forever grateful for the love of my life, well… except during the basketball playoffs. Somehow, we usually support opposing teams.
Vivienne and I have been blessed with two wonderful children, Kimare - married to Kurt, and Jason - married to Alexia, and four amazing grandchildren, Dominic, Daniel Matthew, Blake, and Leah.
VBD: What are your personal interests outside of medicine?
DR. JONES: I have a deep interest in photography. I take pictures at church every Sunday and publish them with a summary of the sermon on Facebook - Sunday Camera. I’m also an avid reader. I no longer read fiction, but mostly spend time reading books from nonfiction authors like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and John Stott, to name two.
VBD: What’s next for you?
DR. JONES: I would like to help my country develop fully as a sovereign nation and also rescue our people from the shackles of crime, injustice, and poverty.
Office: 7 Fernleigh Avenue, May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica
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Ann Marie Bryan
Editor-in-Chief, VBD Magazine