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Voices of Experience

By: Merge magazine's editorial advisory board
Posted: June 23, 2010, from the July 2010 issue of
Three physicians with hands in the center on top of each other

page 5 of 8

It always comes down to people and managing their expectations. Whether it is with employees or the patients sitting in front of you, it involves the ability to adequately explain why you want someone to do something and getting the person in front of you to then sign on with it. I’ve found that working with employees can be the most difficult and the most rewarding part of the day—they can certainly make the day interesting.
Joel Schlessinger, MD

The most difficult part of managing my practice is managing my staff. I always want to make sure they’re happy and that they love to come into work. I want them to love the job they’re doing, as well as making sure everyone gets along as a team. I’m lucky because I have a great staff and everything seems to work consistently, but we’re always having staff meetings to maintain that. All it takes is one unhappy person to make things difficult, and that can bring other people down. Everyone is part of the same team, and my goal is to have everyone be proud to work here.
Nowell Solish, MD, FRCPC

I’m in solo practice and I completely love what I do, so I feel the hardest thing for me sometimes is to find a work-life balance. With work it can be easy to get consumed in a project—with patients, or doing research or writing a paper—and it’s important to sometimes step back. I love my work and I love my family, and I find it’s good to take the time to balance those positive things and to focus on those I love.
Hema Sundaram, MD, FAAD

I work at a university practice, and there are benefits to the prestige of being part of a large institution and interesting cases that come as a result of that. But there are also disadvantages in that, when you aren’t the person making all the decisions, financial or otherwise, you lose some control and that can result in slower decision-making and less ability to be reactive with your practice. Whether it’s marketing changes or buying a new laser or imaging equipment, always having to get that approval sometimes slows things down.
Jonathan Sykes, MD, FACS

I have two practices, so my answer is a two-parter. In my academic, university-based practice, I would say the problem is the stagnation of bureaucracy. Making any changes—procedural, staffing, equipment, billing—can be like driving a car through thick mud. In the private practice, it’s just keeping up with all the details. I feel very lucky to have an incredible staff, in both of my offices, and you’re only as good as your people, so I’ve really been blessed that way.
Heidi Waldorf, MD