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    Starting out in practice: Don’t overextend yourself!


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    Dr. Rosevear is in private practice at Pikes Peak Urology, Colorado Springs, CO.

    Residency is tough. Don’t let anyone tell you that things were worse in the days before work hour restrictions. To paraphrase Captain Barbossa from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” work hours are more like guidelines than rules.

    Private practice, on the other hand, is nice. The paycheck is larger, the hours are better, and people actually care what you think. As a result, entering private practice may tempt you to immediately make up for the last 6 years of your life. Succumbing to that temptation can be disastrous both personally and professionally.

    Personally, the best advice I received came from my father. He said that Dawn, my lovely wife, can have anything she wants; she just can’t have everything. Don’t overextend yourself! No one says you have to live like a resident but you shouldn’t try to live like one of your partners either. Great resources such as The White Coat Investor (www.whitecoatinvestor.com) provide free financial advice geared toward doctors with a great section for young physicians and residents. While my mentors at the University of Iowa’s pediatric urology department may disagree, I believe that most private practice urologists would be better served reading that website than studying the “Campbell’s Urology” chapter on exstrophy.

    Professionally, the temptation exists to use the relatively large amount of newfound free time to do all of the things you were not able to do as a resident: vacation, exercise, read (not Campbell’s), play golf, get active in your church, hike, join a civic organization, play with your kids. The danger is that while doing these activities, you will neglect your practice. Don’t overextend yourself!

    Building a practice takes time and effort. Cultivating referring physicians and learning the logistics of your new office and hospital is not easy. One of my partners suggested I eat lunch every day in the surgeon’s lounge in the hospital, and that was great advice. I have met more physicians while eating cafeteria food over lunch than in all of my other activities combined.

    With that in mind, becoming an active member of your new community is important as well. Not only does this fill the societal expectation that physicians be active community members, but it also allows you to network and build your practice. But be careful not to overdo it. (I could have filled my entire day simply by working for the groups that actively sought out my involvement.) I would recommend limiting your community work to one or two projects for the first few years.

    For me, I chose to work with the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, a national bladder cancer survivor organization, and to write this blog for Urology Times. Don’t be shy about contacting an organization, such as a medical or advocacy group, if you think you can contribute. Young urologists have a unique perspective on the world that many large organizations are seeking.

    I wish all young urologists the best of luck with their new practice and remember, stay active in your community and your life, but concentrate on building your practice. Don’t overextend yourself!

    I welcome questions, ideas, or suggestions regarding this blog; please contact me at [email protected]. By sharing my experiences as I start off in practice, my hope is that other young urologists won’t have to make the same mistakes I have.

    Subscribe to Urology Times to get monthly news from the leading news source for urologists. 

    Henry Rosevear, MD
    Dr. Rosevear, a member of the Urology Times Clinical Practice Board, is in private practice at Pikes Peak Urology, Colorado Springs, CO.


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