Trust between the patient and the doctor is very important

After graduating from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tartu, Eve Kivistik dreamed about becoming a gynaecologist, but today she’s working as an esteemed general practitioner (GP). She is highly respected by her patients, and additionally, Tallinn City Council has named her the Best Primary Health Care Worker of 2016.

Doctor Eve Kivistik, what do you think makes a GP a good GP?

I believe a good doctor cares about his/her job, pays attention to his/her patients, and is empathetic and caring. I like to interact with people of all ages, and with all health issues thrown at them during different stages of life.

You’re a versatile doctor. Besides general GP duties, you also offer services that most of the GPs do not, such as intra-articular injections, kinesio taping, gynaecological examinations and procedures, and acupuncture. As one of the few GPs in Estonia, you also handle pregnancies – why?

One of the most important things in healthcare is trust.

I like when a GP can help a patient more than just write a referral and send them on to a specialist. I can offer better treatment options to my patients and make my own work more varied if I have different skills and can use these daily. I enjoy hands-on procedures. I find it especially enjoyable if the patient is also involved in the process and open to alternative methods to medication.

How do you feel about combining Western medicine with Eastern and alternative medicine?

I find it very helpful to combine acupuncture with Western care in chronic pain management.

In functional status assessments, where evidence-based medicine cannot offer solutions, then alternative and Eastern practices can often help the patient. I find it very helpful to combine acupuncture with Western care in chronic pain management. I have often tried alternative options, and the results have been very encouraging.

What aspects of your job do you not enjoy and would prefer did not exist?

I am frustrated with health policies and healthcare management. For example, primary healthcare is underfunded when comparing the amount of funding to the responsibility and number of tasks involved in primary care. It is very disappointing and makes me feel like GP work is not valued.

It is also bothersome to notice the uneven qualification levels among GPs. It is sad to hear about failure because of GPs’ incompetence. The Service Quality Manual for GPs is very helpful in such situations.

You enjoy an active lifestyle. How do you keep up with your exercise routine?

To balance the mental work, I try to move and be as active as possible. Luckily, I also have active friends and family members with whom I enjoy spending the little free time I have.

I don’t have any major athletic achievements, not now nor from my youth. During school, I played volleyball; later I took up tennis; and right now, I enjoy biking and both cross-country and downhill skiing.

Do you have a hobby that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning?

I love to learn languages and read. I went to a school where most of the academic focus was on the English language. My teacher taught me to love classical literature; thanks to her, I have been able to read many world-class literature pieces in their original language.

I also speak Finnish, Swedish, and Russian. I am most keen on the Swedish language.

I feel very passionate about traveling; my family travels to destinations around the world whenever possible. My husband, Tiit Kivistik, who also works with me at Confido Private Medical Clinic, is a vascular surgeon and also very busy with work. We have the same hobbies, which give us a chance to spend time together with the kids. We enjoy it very much.