February 24, 2024

Physicians today are inundated with information on how to find the best ways to increase their practice income. Secondary employment may be appropriate for desperate medical doctors in financial straits, but the usual short-term nature of such employment is enveloped in low income, covering unscheduled hours outside arrangements, working weekends, management issues and is labeled a “complete” doctor.

I say this because I worked at the local Planned Parenthood clinic for a few months, at a local community hospital with emergency room coverage on nights and weekends, at a small satellite hospital for a year when needed, and I worked locum tenens in the local hospitals occasionally out my own desperation for more income.

My adaptation to quick medical decisions, often working with unfamiliar medical personnel, discovering instrument shortages, and delays in getting diagnostic tech exams at odd hours, skyrocketed my ability to make do with what I had. I discovered how valuable it was during my combat experience in Vietnam.

Secondary employment for physicians of a more lucrative nature occurs when physicians leave the practice prematurely or retire, lose their medical practice due to lack of sufficient income to pay overheads, factor in divorce, are fired from filled medical positions and sudden unexpected disability where their physician’s practice is suspended short-term or long-term.

Most outside employment for physicians in such circumstances is often associated with a physician’s medical knowledge and experience. An associate doctor left the medical practice for legal reasons and became a surgical instrument salesman in Europe. Medical journals and websites often paint wonderful pictures of jobs for doctors outside of the medical practice. Of course, that leaves doctors with a “down” attitude that lowers their self-esteem and effectiveness at that job.

Bringing all of the above discussion into focus leaves all those doctors thinking about what alternatives they missed out on, didn’t think about, or weren’t smart or diligent enough to find out 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 have 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 has always been an alternative available that has eluded you and still exists today for all physicians who prefer to stay in medical practice, rather than leave practice or work…

You’ve always known, in your educational process leading up to medical school, that somewhere mixed in with learning, medical training, and resident training, there is always a corporate machine that makes the world of medical practice work. The machine foundation not only enables you to be successful in your medical career, but also provides you with the tools you can use to reach your fullest potential.

It’s very simple when you think deeply about your professional destiny.

1. All income/money comes from some type of business.

2. All businesses require essential knowledge of business management and marketing strategies to survive, not to mention financial success.

3. A business education provides all the tools and resources for all businesses to be successful through growth, efficiency, productivity and perseverance. The level of success of any business owner depends entirely on how effectively the owner implements and perfects business tools to achieve desired results and consistently provides the ongoing financial stability needed for any owner to easily achieve their personal income level. Meaning, an income level that allows any physician to afford a personal lifestyle, family financial obligations, and enables physicians to maintain state-of-the-art medical care throughout their medical careers.

4. There are over 150,000 books on Amazon on business success criteria providing evidence of their universality, as well as being taught by the most recognized business experts worldwide.

What has been so persistently disruptive to the business side of medical practice and left most physicians in the throes of 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, declining incomes, and increased government practice mandates and fee restrictions. However, when medical students and doctors have had business education, most of these destructive factors lose their power. When those hundreds, perhaps thousands, of doctors who have lost their medical practices over the decades all have to recognize that there had to be a way around these problems.

It’s not the wealthy doctors who share these abusive fights. Have you noticed? Why do most doctors distrust marketing results? That’s why most business experts and consultants stay away from doctors today. This is true. While medical schools are supposed to provide business education to all medical students, many do not.

The most egregious factors that blow my mind are what I believe evolve from physicians lacking backup knowledge and a robust financial system that everyone needs, not only to prevent financial disaster in their practices, but also to enable them to get out of financial problems once they recognize those problems starting.

Putting all this together, it is clear that a business education is essential for doctors who want to be successful in their medical career. With the right knowledge and tools, doctors can not only avert financial disaster but also achieve the income and personal lifestyle they desire. It is time for medical schools to recognize the importance of business education and equip their students with the resources they need to be successful in both medicine and business. If you were offered a business education while in medical school, would you have followed the curriculum? I’d like to know.

Curtis G. Graham is a physician.


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