Yesterday we celebrated the graduation of the third year residents where I teach occasionally. Some recommendations for their years ahead:
1. Stay in close contact with you colleagues, talk to your colleagues, don't keep to yourself, exchange thoughts and experiences. Maybe even get together from time to time and present each other new research results or interesting articles.
2. Assemble a group of specialists that are easy to talk to, whom you can call at any time and just get an opinion, or a curbside consult, and who do not mind teaching you a trick or two. Don't go for the "just send me your patient" specialists.
3. Consider AudioDigest for your CME, they have excellent recorded talks that help you in every day practice.
4. Use new technology and new procedures wisely. Don't be the first to adopt them and not the last one. Be critical, consider the value for the patient and balance it against the cost to society
5. Find a financial consultant that is "fee-only". Don't fall for the insurance salespeople masquerading as financial advisers. You want impartial advice, not sales chatter. Create a 5 or 10 year financial plan and stick to it.
6. Buy a house. We are in a buyers market, it is a good time to buy. I always heard from my parents "we wish we had bought the house back then". Real estate always appears to be high at the present time, but in 10 years you will be happy to have bought it for the present price. Use Zillow to get crucial information and to research comparable homes. You can even buy and sell your home on Zillow.
7. If you need a new job, send a letter to every physician in your target area (direct mail). This is even better than networking. This way you will find three times more jobs and better jobs than the best recruiter will ever find.
8. Plan to go into your own practice. It is more fun, more good responsibility and good stress, you learn a tremendous amount, it is a life experience that you cannot miss (see this blog). Physicians are independent and are not meant to be herded into big corporations. The Walmartisation of medicine is overvalued.
9. Defend your patients, but also defend your profession. Speak out against more pay cuts, especially if they hide behind such funny names as "pay for performance".
Be especially sceptical of the so called "physician shortage". I will not believe this speculation until I see my income going up significantly. The price of any good or service is determined by supply and demand. We are still loosing income, so there is no shortage! Speak out against opening new medical schools and new residency programs. We do not need more physicians, but we may need more nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and midwives.
I wish you all the best and a very bright future!