Suddenly Solo – A Physician’s Guide to Surviving & Thriving in Your Own Medical Practice


Imagine being safely ensconced in group practice one day, just going through the motions, but nonetheless enjoying your day-talking with colleagues, consulting with patients, maybe even enjoying lunch, driving home, talking over your day with a friend or your spouse, and then walking into work the next morning, only to find yourself out of a job-fired. Or, if that doesn’t gut you enough, imagine coming to work one day to find that not only do your keys mysteriously no longer work, but a security guard bars you from entering the building, where all your files are locked away.

Here’s another dream scenario: Imagine returning from a long-overdue, much-anticipated, relaxing vacation to find that your partner has conspired with another and has effectively stolen your practice. Or, how about this: Imagine that your managing partner neglected to pay your malpractice premium, meaning you lost coverage and could not get it back.

Whether you are in a large or small group, an employee or a partner, in academia or private practice, you are at risk of and most certainly can be sacked. This is the economic equivalent of being involved a shipwreck, injured, and then stranded on a desert island. What would you do?

I know your first instinct would be to cry; maybe you’d even go into denial for a few hours; thirty minutes, at most. But this part is very important: Your first priority is to not panic. Panic will prevent you from calling up all those survival skills you learned in school, training, and life. Panic also wastes time, and on this particular kind of occasion, time is of the essence.

This is around the point at which your brain starts to engage in the reality of your predicament, and you’ll begin to think about your financial status and how, if you don’t start generating cash flow, pretty much right away, your reserves will quickly dwindle away and you’ll die. You’ll be on the street, living in a box. Today, the Mercedes-tomorrow, the food stamp line.