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Don’t Let Your Emotions Stand Between You and a Successful Practice.

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Whether you are looking for your first practice, or making a mid-career change, you may be your own worst enemy when it comes to finding the best fit for your career and family. A practice's viability and income potential can usually be projected fairly accurately on paper. However, most healthcare providers think emotionally when making a career change.

Studies have shown that the most stressful times in a person's life are as follows:

  • The death of a loved one.
  • Change in marital status.
  • A career change.
  • Relocation to a new community.

Unfortunately, most healthcare providers must change careers and communities when making a shift in their careers because a practice's viability is usually determined by a patient population. This compounds the stress and life-impact of a career-changing decision. As a result, healthcare providers struggle with balancing the impact emotional and rational factors have on their decision process. A vast majority of healthcare providers will ultimately decide on a practice based upon their feelings rather than information that can be quantified. This can result in getting contractually stuck in a bad situation.

Here are some steps you can take to minimize the impact that emotions have on your decision to find a new practice:

Make a List of Your Personal and Professional Needs.

Before you talk to a single recruiter, sit down with your family and list out your professional and personal needs. Spend some time focusing on the amenities that a community needs to have, such as schools, shopping, restaurants, and culture. Make a list of the family activities that are important to you. Then, figure out your professional needs. Don't think just in terms of income, but visualize your ideal practice and describe it on paper. How many patients will you need to see each day? Will you focus on a sub-specialty?

When Evaluating a Practice, Make a List of Pros and Cons.

I know that creating a list of pros and cons can be a little cliché, but it works. Don't just list the pros and cons in your head, write them down. If you only list them out in your head, your emotions will make you conveniently ignore some strong points. An actual list will lead you to make the best decisions.

Review Your List of Personal and Professional Needs Throughout the Process.

When you get bombarded with hundreds of practice opportunities, it is easy to lose sight of what your original motivation was in the first place. It is also easy to get fixated on comparing the practices where you have interviewed, and to forget some of your personal or professional needs. Rather than comparing practices to each other, evaluate practices based upon your needs list.

Follow the 90% Rule.

If you can find 90% of the things you are looking for in a practice and community, then you would be doing better than most people. Chances are that no one, regardless of profession, will find 100% of what they are looking for in a job. So, think about what compromises you would be willing to make to improve your quality of life or quality of practice in other areas.

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