Episode Two

Guest: Dr. James Tinsley joins Hunter for a conversation about his journey from civil engineering to family medicine. 


Dr. James C. Tinsley is certified with the American Board of Family Medicine and is fully Licensed with the state of Virginia. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute With Distinction in Academics 1986 with a BS in Civil Engineering and an Army Scholarship. He served 2 years active duty in the US Army in (West)Germany and 4 years in the US Army Reserve and left with an Honorable Discharge. After working and saving money as a Civil Engineer he decided to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a Physician. He graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 2000 and completed his Family Physician Residency via the Medical College of Virginia (Hanover Family Physicians) in 2003 as Chief Resident.

He practices medicine and now lives his purpose at Lighthouse Direct Primary Care in Newport News, Virginia

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From Civil Engineer to Physician

Hunter: And then you got out of the Army and you did a stint in civil engineering outside of the Army. And then all of a sudden here's this detour from civil engineering to becoming a physician. I know there's a story there. There's gotta be. And so was there an epiphany or was it something that you had in the back of your head for a while. I mean for some people it's an event happens a family member is taken ill, and makes an impression, and they decide I'm not going to allow this to happen again. I'm going to be a doctor and save people. What's your story.

Dr. Tinsley: It's the other way around. I've always wanted to be a doctor as a kid. My mom was a nurse in the ICU, back before HIPAA, you could walk around. She would take me around with her. I saw them write codes. The whole nine yards. And I wanted to be a doctor all through middle school, high school. And we had let's just say we had some family disruption my senior year. So that kind of through everything out the window. I wasn't even sure I going to be able go to college, but I got an Army scholarship for college and went to VMI. Did pretty well there. Um, graduated with distinction. So I got into Duke, and I got a full ride there as well. Academic scholarship, plus a teaching assistantship, so. Ah got a published thesis. Then the Army said enough playing around, you're come in and serve your time. And the civil engineering degree I got that as needs of the Army. At that time they needed civil engineers. So, then when I was talking with my grandfather, he said, "Look, they need engineers, you want this Army scholarship, you know, go be an engineer." And I needed the money for college, so it was that, or enlist, or I actually looked at enlisting in the Army. Um, but, so I mean, here I am. All's well that ends well. And I got out and worked as a civil engineer. Saved up some money and followed my dream. This is what I've always wanted to do.

Hunter: Congratulations. It's living your purpose isn't it?

Dr. Tinsley: Yeah 
 

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