While the study of medicine requires hefty doses of science, the practice of medicine is in many ways an art. Just ask Dr. Tom Nevrivy, veteran family physician with Associates in Family Medicine and budding artist in his free time.
“I started painting about two years ago,” he shares. “My dad painted, so I’ve always been attracted to it. My wife and youngest son finally decided to get me painting lessons for my birthday,” he grins. “I still take lessons every Monday, and my instructor is actually a longtime patient of mine.”
While Tom’s painting pastime is fairly new, especially when compared to his 30 plus years in the field of medicine, it involves (and even refines) some of the same skills demanded by his daily work as a family doctor.
Much like medicine, painting for Tom is an art of insight and understanding—one requiring a keen eye for observation and strong attention to detail. “I really enjoy how painting allows me to capture a specific moment in time,” he explains, “bringing back all of the fond memories and unique subtleties of an experience.” Through his paintings, Tom identifies the intricacies that make moments beautiful—from fishing trips and hiking treks to afternoons with the family bulldog.
Fittingly enough, it’s this perceptive nature and appreciation of the details that make him an exceptional doctor. Practicing the full scope of family medicine, Tom uncovers the nuances that shed light on patients’ individual situations, helping them paint pictures of health that resonate with them personally. And by supporting his patients each step of the way, he gets to be part of a process that (like an original work of art) simply cannot be replicated.
“The best part of what I do is getting to know families and caring for them from birth,” he says with a smile. “I still have patients who I delivered, and now I care for their children too. I love being a part of their family health journey.”
A passion prompted by inspiration, Tom’s desire to help patients has been present for most of his life—from his early years in high school to his current practice at AFM. “I grew up in a small town, and the doctors in my home town really inspired me to pursue family medicine,” he says fondly. “I was captivated and intrigued by medicine and the idea of helping people across every facet of the profession.”
And while Tom’s experience as a physician goes back a long way, he continues to recognize and value the dynamic nature of his work, like an artist continually mastering his craft. “It never gets boring,” he laughs. “There’s always something new and different every day. You never stop learning.”
Through his roles as both painter and practitioner, Tom certainly finds ample opportunities to create something special. Yet the true masterpieces of his life always come from his first passion—the call to lead patients toward full, healthy lives. “I would never think about doing anything else,” he says emphatically. “This is what I was called to do, and I love it.”