Can I Be Burning Out Already?

August 9, 2010

It hasn’t even been a year. I can’t even really say my schedule is overwhelming. After all, I made it. But the day in, day out demands of solo private practice are starting to get to me.

It hasn’t even been a year. I can’t even really say my schedule is overwhelming. After all, I made it. But the day in, day out demands of solo private practice are starting to get to me.

Between the demands of being a physician, and the emotional and mental toll that takes, and the demands of being office manager, human resources manager, business owner, wife and mother, I feel like I will soon be stretched beyond my limits.

I am seeing what I think is a reasonable number of patients each day. The schedule is manageable, although we seem to pendulum back and forth between twiddling our thumbs because a new patient didn’t show up (and therefore we have 45 minutes with no patients) and running from exam room to exam room.

And I’m torn. I feel the need to see more patients to increase availability to new patients and to increase revenue. Do I shorten visits to see more patients (and pull all my hairs out)? Do I double book? On the other hand, one of the reasons I went solo was so I could determine my own schedule and make it more amenable to a somewhat normal family life.

My husband/biller keeps telling me I need to see more patients, and he never complains about how much he has to do at home (or outside the home since the kids needs to be shuttled all over the place). Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, and no matter how much society has changed, I still feel that I should be a mom, that I should be there for the kids more, that I should go to the scout meetings, etc.

Do I get an office manager to ease some of the non-medical burdens of the office? And pay her/him what? Right now, any money that comes in, goes right back out. Don’t get me wrong, I am paying myself a decent albeit modest salary and the only debt I have is the mortgage on the office, but I couldn’t afford an office manager. So I pretty much take care of everything from supervising the staff to making sure the cleaning lady gets paid to ordering supplies.

I have mentioned the new associate who will be joining me. I long for the day that I may delegate some responsibility to her, but I realize that in reality, until she is partner, it’s all still on me. All of it. Everyday. Even when I take my longed for first vacation. Sigh. I just keep telling myself, this too shall pass.