I’m a practice owner, and I LOVE it! While I’m new to this practice owner thing, I’m not new to business. Nonetheless, I wonder some days why I do not experience compassion fatigue or depression. It would be easy to do with the demands of my profession, especially with this new step in my career. I do feel abused many days by my staff, my clients, and the world in general.
I am just like a previous author where I am not beaten nor bullied, although some people have tried the latter. Currently my staff are the best I have ever had and my clients make me smile. Heck, I just got a hug from one of my clients just yesterday for saving their puppies. These are the good days.
The Bad Days
That isn’t always the case though. I have had employees steal, employees not show up for their shift, clients leave without paying, banks who try to jack up rates and people who try to sell you things you don’t need. Who takes the hit every time? I do, the practice owner. There is so much more to being an owner that no one else sees. I am the boss, the business woman, the bank negotiator, the landlord shark preventer, the electrician and the one who has a half million dollar loan behind her name. I am a single doctor practice owner.
I’d make more money doing almost anything else. Last year I would have made more money as an intern but I love what I do, most days. And eventually as my practice grows so to will my paycheck.
Now I don’t expect to be able to live like a queen but I have been scavenging for leftovers from CE courses, drug reps and garage sales since I graduated 10 years ago. Doing so has allowed me to pay my student loan bills off, have three kids, own my own house and start my own hospital from scratch. It gave me the freedom to choose what I wanted in my career. What I want is practice ownership. I have worked harder and smarter than ever before. I have worked for 30 days straight multiple times for over two years. I have endured hundreds of emotional punches from all directions. I LOVE being an owner but I refuse to allow my practice, my home life or myself to suffer.
The punches come at you from all directions. From the banks who want higher interest rates, the employee who brings drama from home, the other employee who hates feedback, the client who screams at the “rich” doctor, the client who thinks you can’t be the boss because you are a woman, the associate who believes your medicine isn’t quite good enough, and finally from yourself.
100 MMA Fighters and Me
We are a profession of perfectionists who treat each other and ourselves in ways that leave us miserably disheartened. When you are an associate you have a sense of what happens but it isn’t until you are in the arena of ownership that you fully understand. Some days I feel like there are a 100 MMA fighters vs me. They are ready to give it a go and I haven’t had my morning coffee yet.
In the arena of practice ownership you will get beat up. As Brene Brown says, “you will get your ass kicked…. But it is not the critic who counts.” The ones who count are us, the practice owners, to stand back up when our employees, our families, our clients, the uninformed and the internet trolls complain about our decisions. Maybe it is the cowgirl in me but I plan to see my practice through to being not just good, but great.
I plan to get back up after my employee steals from me. When my associate complains he doesn’t get paid enough I won’t say “suck it up, buttercup”. Instead, I will teach him financial and business acumen so he can make better decisions that will help him and my hospital in the long run. I plan on paying my team a livable wage, on getting paid for my time and expertise, on drinking margaritas with my husband after a tough day, on crying when I euthanize my patients, on dancing for joy when I send my ICU patients home. I plan and I plan but most importantly I plan on Succeeding. Succeeding gracefully as a woman, a practice owner, a mom, a wife and a daughter, and living my life with compassion every day.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the DrAndyRoark.com editorial team.
About the Author
I am Dr. Rachael Kuhn-Siegel who owns Prairie Animal Hospital in Peoria, Il. I am married to a wonderful husband with three humans kids and 5 fur kids who take up all my free time.