Physicians today are being flooded with information about finding the best ways to increase their practice incomes. Secondary employment may be appropriate for desperate physicians in financial distress, but the usual short-term nature of such employment is shrouded with low income, covering unexpected hours outside agreements, weekends working, management issues, and being labeled as the “fill-in” doctor.
I say that because I worked at the local Planned Parenthood clinic for a few months, at a local community hospital ER coverage nights and weekends, at a small satellite hospital for a year when needed, and worked locum tenens at local hospitals on occasion out of my own desperation for more income.
My adaptation to quick medical decisions, working often with unfamiliar medical staff, discovering shortages of instruments, and delays with obtaining diagnostic technology exams at odd hours, skyrocketed my ability to make do with what I had. I discovered how valuable that was during my combat experience in Vietnam.
Secondary employment for physicians of a more profitable nature arise when physicians quit practice early or in retirement, lose their medical practice for lack of enough income to pay the overhead, divorce factors, are fired from employed medical positions, and sudden unexpected disability where their medical practice is suspended short- term or long-term.
Most of the outside employment for physicians under such circumstances are often associated with a physician’s medical knowledge and experience. An associate physician quit medical practice for legal reasons and became a salesman for surgical instruments in Europe. Medical magazines and websites frequently paint wonderful pictures of jobs for physicians outside of medical practice. Of course, that leaves physicians with a “put-down” attitude that lowers their self-esteem and effectiveness in that job.
Putting all of the above discussion into focus leaves all of those physicians thinking about what alternatives they missed, didn’t think of, or weren’t smart enough or diligent enough to discover early enough to actually stay in medical practice and avoid all the miserable consequences of a job they hated, or had to take, regardless.
Face it. When you’ve got everything to lose, and little to gain in any job outside of the medical career you were trained for, your life becomes more complicated.
There always has been an alternative available that slipped past you and that still exists today for all physicians who prefer to stay in medical practice, rather than quit practice or become employed…
You have known all along, in your educational process up through medical school, that somewhere mixed in with learning, medical training, and resident training, there is always a business machine making the world of medical practice work. The machine’s foundation enables you to not only succeed in your medical career but also provides you with the tools to use to reach your ultimate potential.
It’s very simple when you think deeply about your career destiny.
1. All income/money is derived from some kind of business.
2. All businesses require essential knowledge of business management and marketing strategies to survive, let alone succeed financially.
3. A business education provides all the tools and resources for all businesses to succeed through growth, efficiency, productivity, and persistence. The level of success of any business owner depends entirely on how effectively the owner implements and refines business tools to achieve desired outcomes and persistently provides continuous financial stability necessary for any owner to easily reach their personal comfort level of income. Meaning, an income level that enables any physician to afford a personal lifestyle, family financial obligations, and allows physicians to maintain state-of-the-art medical care throughout their medical practice careers.
4. There are over 150,000 books on Amazon about business success criteria that provide proof of their universality, as well as being taught by the most recognized business experts around the world.
What has been so persistently disruptive of the business side of medical practice and has left most physicians struggling through their medical practice careers are the factors that I truly believe contribute to physician attrition, which is rapidly increasing. These factors include burnout, overwork, increased record-keeping, dropping incomes, and government-increasing practice mandates and fee restrictions. However, when medical students and physicians have had a business education, most of these destructive factors lose their power. When those hundreds, maybe thousands, of physicians who have lost their medical practices over the decades, must all recognize there had to be a way around these problems.
It isn’t the wealthy physicians that share these abusive struggles. Have you noticed that? Why do most physicians not trust marketing results? That’s why most business experts and consultants stay far away from physicians today. This is true. Although medical schools should provide business education to all medical students, many fail to do so.
The most egregious factors that blow my mind are those that I believe evolve from physicians lacking backup knowledge and a solid financial system that they all need, to not only prevent financial disaster in their practices but also enable them to get out of financial problems once they recognize those problems starting.
Putting all of this together, it’s clear that a business education is essential for physicians who want to succeed in their medical careers. With the right knowledge and tools, physicians can not only avoid financial disaster but also achieve the income and personal lifestyle they desire. It’s time for medical schools to recognize the importance of business education and provide their students with the resources they need to succeed in both medicine and business. If you were offered a business education while in medical school, would you have taken the curriculum? I’d like to know.
Curtis G. Graham is a physician.