Doctors get lots of career advice when they're in medical school and in their residencies. But here's the great advice they didn't get — but wish they did.
1. "Develop interests outside of medicine. It doesn't matter what you choose, but you will really need an avenue to redirect your mind after a long day (or night) of medical practice. You are going to stop practicing someday. You better have something to fill your time." Rebecca Fox, MD
2. "Patients don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Patients remember and are more deeply impressed by compassion and listening than with knowledge or skill." C. Noel Henley, MD
3. "I wish I knew that for every one bad patient experience or outcome there will be 100 good outcomes. It is hard to look past a bad experience at the time, but then it will help to form your decisions in the future." Deborah Winiger, MD
4. "You may just want to take care of patients but you also have take care of the financial aspects of running a practice. You need to understand business and financial principles, or you will go broke giving good care." Jesse Hackell, MD
5. "When in a room of other people, including ones with your patients — especially those rooms — learn to say to yourself, 'I may not be the smartest person here.'" Ted Eytan, MD
6. "When all else fails, examine the patient! Young docs, and many of the older ones, too, order test after test, and never get around to actually examining the patient to see if anything correlates with the problem at hand … The patient always tells you what they have; you just have to be astute enough to listen." Stephen Rockower, MD
7. "As a medical resident, I wish I received advice regarding mandatory, comprehensive medical-legal instruction of the patient medical record, including chart organization and design, a documentation format of greater detail than just a S.O.A.P. [subjective, objective, assessment, plan] entry, [and] detailed instruction of what can medically/legally compromise the medical record." Tom Del Zotto, MD
8. "I encourage my medical students and young physicians to think about what the end of their career may look like ... They should consider how they might acquire the additional skills they may need, and what the timeline is to do this. Thinking this way may prompt them to get additional training and education, or how they chose their employment." Robin Motter, DO
9. "Take two classes in undergrad: personal finance and small business management." Dustin Sulak, DO
Marisa Torrieri is an associate editor for Physicians Practice. She can be reached at [email protected].
Aubrey Westgate is senior editor for Physicians Practice. She can be reached at [email protected].