An Imaginary Story. Or is it?

The doctor arrived at his office at his habitual 8.50 a.m.  He parked his Mercedes Benz in the fire lane of the parking lot as he always did and strolled up to his office via the back stairwell.  After calmly entering the back entrance of his established medical practice, he proceeded to hang up his jacket, gave his briefcase to his nurse (who handed it over to his personal assistant) and went into the locker area to change into clean scrubs.  From there he went to the OR area and began to scrub in for his first surgery of the day.  It never occurred to him that surgery was scheduled to begin promptly at 8.30 a.m. as he had requested.  Nor did it occur to him that his staff, patients and anesthesiologist were waiting on him.  Or that this 20 minute wait was going to put his whole day’s schedule behind…… again!

Surgery went excellently, as expected.  After all, this wasn’t your average medical doctor.  This was one of the world’s most premier cosmetic surgeons.  The results of his work were known worldwide.  His reputation was stellar.  And his TV presence was untouchable.  The other three surgical procedures he had scheduled that day also went well, exceedingly well. 

At 1.30 p.m., the doctor was finished with surgery.  He came out of the OR area, quickly showered and changed into his tailored Armani suit.  Breezing through the back of the reception area, he noticed that the waiting room was crowded.  It looked like a busy afternoon of consultations was waiting for him.  He stepped into his office and closed the door.  The next minute his personal assistant came in with lunch and a stack of files to be reviewed, letters to be read and checks to sign.  He insisted that this be done everyday so he could keep on track of paperwork and still do surgery every day.  The only problem was, he was almost one hour behind in the day now. (Damn it.)

He had a few bites of lunch, quickly looked at the afternoon patient files and then, perturbed, he told his personal assistant that because he had been overbooked with too many patients again, he would not be able to go over any important paperwork until later. With that he began his round of consultations, getting more and more irritated with each one, although his patients would never know of his inner angst.  He felt like a hamster on a wheel, the wheel he had been running on for the past decade of his practice life.

He was a medical doctor, a plastic surgeon, and one of the finest. Medical school did not prepare him for the real world of managing a business.  Everything he had learned about running a medical practice came out of fellowship training, personal hard work and determination.  He had not been taught anything about business.  And, after all these years in practice, he still didn’t get it.

He was fortuitous, however.  The effect of his business naiveté was not diminishing his wallet. He was making ample money and, by all appearances, has reached the heights of success.  However, keeping up with this pace was taking a toll on him and he knew he needed to make changes.  He was getting to the point of realizing that “it all trickles down from the top.”  In other words, the ramifications of his daily habits and actions were having a direct impact on his staff, his practice and his health. It was time to make a change.                      

Does this sound familiar to you? Many doctors feel that they have a little bit of this person in them.  Others have a lot.  Wherever you fall on the scale, however, there is always room for change and practice growth.  The first realization that you are at the top of the pyramid can be quite daunting.  You might even feel unbalanced, or unsteady.  However, once you realize that by focusing your attention on making sure that your first step everyday is the right one, pretty soon your confidence and tenacity will grow as you realize that your staff is following every step you take. To learn how you can take back control of your practice, drop us a line at and we will refer to you a practice consultant.

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