Congratulations on launching your medical career as a new attending physician! You’ve finally reached a significant milestone after years of rigorous education and clinical training. At Contract Diagnostics, we’re here to guide you through this exciting transition.
As an attending physician, the next few months will be pivotal to your future success – professionally, clinically, financially, and personally. We have compiled a vital physician checklist for the first six months of your new role.
Building Relationships in Your Medical Career
Forming professional connections with your colleagues, staff, and other healthcare professionals is crucial for successful physician career development. Building and nurturing these professional relationships with great intent can be key to furthering your career and practice development. Get to know the other physicians, department heads, referral networks, and anyone else who can help you get up to speed faster than the average. Don’t forget about the clinic and support staff as well. These folks can be wonderful resources as you get your new employer’s culture. Go to as many meetings as possible, make yourself seen and known, and get involved where you are needed (or have an interest). Ask many questions. One of my favorite sayings is, “To be interesting, you need to be interested.” – so be curious. Ask as many questions as possible to become integral to all those new relationships you will create!
Seek opportunities for growth and interaction with your new colleagues. Expand your new professional network, and build it with great intent. Consider not only your facility or employer but also the community in which your organization is located. Local groups and organizations provide important opportunities to meet and connect with people. Seek out mentors in your new community who can provide additional touchpoints and connections.
Your ‘brand’ is built from day one – so create it with intent!
Your physician’s salary has significantly increased as you begin your practice, and it’s essential to manage it wisely. The saying ‘there is never a better time than now’ is vital regarding your finances. Review your current situation, create a comprehensive and multifaceted (not just investment) plan, and build your team. Obtain professional advice on managing all aspects of your financial situation.
Some key issues include:
- Balancing debt(student loans, credit cards)
- Obtaining proper insurance (Term life and Long term disability insurance)
- Create your investment/retirement plan. Review your goals and plans, and implement them immediately. It’s not just about your employer’s sponsored plans; it’s a total, holistic approach to your investment strategy.
- Tax strategy. Your biggest expense will be taxes! A proactive approach is best for high earners.
Too many service providers (or professional salespeople) focus “just on physicians,” so be wary of who you invite to join your team. Know that all these companies are in the business of selling you their products and services and are likely making quite a bit of money by doing so. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but be sure to shop appropriately and ask many questions of those you decide to trust with these decisions.
Physician Work-Life Balance
Physician burnout is a very real concern in the medical field. As a new attending physician, it’s crucial to establish healthy work-life boundaries to ensure a long and satisfying career in medicine.
Your new attending role brings with it increased responsibilities and a greater workload. Developing the right time-management skills and life-balancing opportunities can set the right boundaries to maintain a necessary work/life balance. Your physical and mental well-being is vital to your clinical success. Establish a work routine up front that will help you stay organized and efficient. Set goals, plan your schedule, and prioritize tasks to manage your clinical responsibilities. Don’t fall into the trap of falling behind on those admin tasks!
Be sure you are effectively communicating with your peers and your spouse, partner, or friends about the challenges you are facing in your new career. Seek support when needed, and offer your support to others in need. There are likely many local resources available, maybe even from your employer.
Continuing Medical Education and Certification
Becoming a licensed and board-certified physician is a goal of every physician. It may even be a requirement for your staff privileges or your group. Staying up to date on the latest medical research, guidelines, and trends is something physicians all know needs to happen. Like your finances or practice plan, you should have a specific strategy to obtain these credits and credentials. Many opportunities exist throughout the year for CME, but there may be defined times for your boards, written and oral. Knowing the requirements and timing can help you plan to study, take the appropriate review courses, and succeed the first time with this important career step.
Once you are board-certified, attending conferences, workshops, and seminars will keep you sharp and help you be the lifelong learner that all physicians should be. Enhancing your clinical skills through continued education is required and readily available. Know the CME budgets and policies at your employer! They may be able to help fund not only some courses and travel but also other items you propose – so be creative and never hesitate to ask and create a unique proposal for something outside their typical policy or budget. Many times, if it is good for you, them, and the patients, they are willing to invest in furthering your education and skill acquisition.
If you wish to participate in providing conference talks or education to your peers, starting early is a great idea. Learn the processes, and the decision-makers, and start getting in front of people. Practice your presentation skills, as they don’t come easy to anyone, especially physicians and scientists!
Physician Wellness: Taking Care of Your Physical Health
Ironically, despite being in a profession dedicated to maintaining health, many physicians ignore their own well-being. In fact, it’s almost a stereotype—the physician who, while taking care of everyone else, fails to take care of themselves. This is especially true for new physicians, as the early years of practice can be some of the most intense and time-consuming. In the rush of building a practice, gaining clinical experience, and managing the complexities of patient care, your own health can easily slip to the bottom of the priority list. However, prioritizing your physical health is fundamental to your professional success and personal well-being.
This is about more than avoiding the obvious health problems that can come from neglect. It’s also about maintaining the physical and mental resilience necessary to perform at your best in a demanding profession. If you don’t take care of yourself, it can lead to quicker burnout, decreased quality of patient care, and personal health issues.
Planning Your Long-Term Physician Career
You have accomplished so much, yet it is all really starting. It’s time to look forward to the next 20-30 years! The rotations are done, the low pay is over, and you have your entire career in front of you. Be proactive about what you want out of it when you wish to retire or go part-time, how busy you wish to be, and what you want out of your personal life. Setting proper goals in all areas of your life is important; now is the time to do this. Create your bucket list! Draft up your 1-, 3-, and 10-year plans!
With proper planning in all areas of your life, you will have a prosperous career and a healthy lifestyle supported by a comfortable balance sheet.
As always, we’re here to support you. Feel free to reach out if you need any assistance.
Do Not Settle for Less Than What You Deserve
Imagine what a 10%+ increase in your compensation could mean for your financial future. With just a simple conversation with our team, you could be on your way to securing the salary you deserve. Our team can help make that a reality. Schedule a FREE 15-minute evaluation with us now, or click on one of the options below to learn more.