I recently had the good fortune to spend a long weekend in the mountains with an old friend. He’s about my age but took a much more direct route into medicine and as a result has been practicing now for almost 10 years compared to my 2. He also went into academics, not private practice, and when the conversation drifted to medicine, it was that difference that seemed most pronounced.
My friend is now an associate professor at a big-name university in a big city and spoke with great pride about his efforts to become a “triple threat": a respected surgeon, a well-published scientist, and a trusted mentor to his residents and fellows. Based on what I could ascertain via a quick Google search, I think he’s doing a great job at it too.
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The biggest challenge he described is one that I am very familiar with; specifically, balancing his career with his job. Interestingly, though, when I spoke of my similar challenges as I learn both to become a better clinician and to ensure that my practice is run efficiently, his attitude changed dramatically. He spoke almost with disdain about the business side of medicine and stated that it is not possible to simultaneously be an excellent clinician and a businessman.
I disagreed. Emphatically.
His arguments included the lack of formal training to run a business (no MBA), that the time spent running the business could be used to practice medicine, and the potential for “moral corruption” if a physician started practicing medicine to make money and not help patients. He seemed most bothered by my quest to become a more “efficient” physician.
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