Breaking down the medical industry
As you inch towards your debut as a physician, it’s wise to assess the medical field’s ever-changing landscape before you establish your place within it. There are many factors to consider when evaluating the medical market and how it impacts you personally. Now more than ever, national trends can directly affect the challenges you face in your career, so understanding them will better equip you to navigate them when the time comes. The industry has changed dramatically since the emergence of COVID-19 and will continue to evolve in the coming years as we move towards a resolution. Maintaining knowledge of and continually researching the medical market will substantially impact your understanding of working within it successfully.
Deciding your practice type
Choosing what type of medicine to practice is a big decision guided by both the state of the industry and personal preference. The 2 most important components of practice type are medical specialties and practice setting. Once you’ve decided on these factors, you can proceed on a more concentrated path towards your dream job.
Factors to consider:
- earning potential
- patient contact
- work-life balance
- scientific interests
- medical specialties
- single-specialty groups (SSG)
- multi-specialty Groups (MSG)
- private practice
- independent contractor
Finding an employer
The establishment that employs you is another huge factor in fulfilling your practice, so knowing what to look for in an institution before accepting a job is crucial. According to Kathryn C. Peisert, managing editor of The Governance Issue (TGI) and author of Career and Life Planning Guidebook For Medical Residents, you should be looking for patient-centric employers with team-focused and business acumen. Finding these qualities in an organization will indicate that the work environment is positive, efficient, and functional. If you receive offers from multiple organizations, take the time to consider the work environment and institutional integrity thoroughly.
Trends in the medical industry
Grasping the most prominent trends in the medical industry is so beneficial because it helps you decide what type of medicine to practice and conditions you to face challenges that doctors often see. Acquiring knowledge of the business side of medicine strengthens your assets and sets you up for success.
Health care reform impacts
Reformations of American health care have further complicated the issues being faced in the medical field. As more people are insured under the Affordable Care Act, the number of patients increases disproportionately to the available resources and medical workers’ number. This can be detrimental to the quality of health care provided to patients and doctors’ success on a national scale.
We see a rise in medical institutions’ bankruptcies’ closures, indicating how severe financial pressures organizations face. As a result, Physicians are experiencing burnout, patients are paying higher rates, and medical institutions decrease in quality. As a practicing physician, you will likely feel the consequences of this but must not let it drag down your passion and drive. Shift your focus to building and nurturing relationships with patients, or become a leader who promotes communication and cohesion within your team.
Additionally, market trends currently indicate a general shortage of physicians, which has only been worsened by the pandemic. Hospitals are flooded with COVID-19 patients and have been dominated by an unprecedented level of intensity and pressure. This year doctors have been overworked beyond reason, which has led to increased burnout, higher rates of depression among medical workers, and a decreased quality of health care for patients. Not to mention how many young people have lost the desire to practice medicine since the public has highlighted how laborious and intense it is to work in the medical field. This raises the question of whether or not we will have enough medical professionals to replace our current ones after they retire. The pattern of physician shortage is cyclical and should be considered as you work towards your career as a doctor because the job’s pressure and stress are not on track to dissolve anytime soon.
Todd Skertich is managing partner, Arlington Healthcare and founder, Adventures in Medicine and Physician Career Planning. He is the author of The Art of Physician Negotiation and can be reached on Twitter @adventuresinmed.
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