What Practice Setting Fits Me?

Craig A. Fowler
PhysicianCareer.com Staff Writer

You are finishing up your training and considering the myriad of job opportunities in front of you. You ask yourself, “Am I cut out for a solo practice?” “What about a group? Single Specialty? Multiple Specialty?” In this article we will discuss the different practice settings that may be presented to you, and the benefits of each.

The idea of a solo practice puts fear in the hearts of many physicians, especially those who are just completing training. The idea of essentially being a small business owner and an independent physician for the first time can be overwhelming to contemplate.

The biggest benefit of owning your own practice is the independence that it gives you. Autonomy. Financially you take home what you make (after expenses are paid). You control your own pace. See as many or as few patients as you want to. You are in control of your overhead.

A group setting offers you a ready-made practice to walk into. As the Baby-Boomer generation begins retiring, opportunities exist to “take-over” an existing practice. Groups usually offer a shared-call arrangement. Oftentimes partnership tracks are offered, as well. The need has usually been completely defined, overhead expenses are shared and for less experienced physicians, the opportunity to be mentored is often available.

A large Multi-Specialty group can also offer strength in numbers when is comes to negotiating managed care contracts with insurance providers. There is a benefit to a built in referral base in MSG’s also. Some of the concerns with groups (single-specialty or multi-specialty) include how overhead is allocated and how revenue is split. How partners are brought into the group can be another point of contention to consider.

Employment opportunities through a hospital can have its own benefits. There is a perceived sense of security with employment. You are given the opportunity to practice medicine and not business. The administrative hassles are borne by hospital administration and not the physician. The other side of the coin is that physicians, in certain circumstances, can feel that they do not have a voice.

After reviewing the above scenarios, it is important to ask yourself several questions. Am I an entrepreneur? Do I like the business of medicine? Do I like the idea of being employed? Do I need the security of a regular paycheck? The answers to these questions may help you decide: “Which practice setting fits me?”

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