Are you an employed doctor wondering if it’s time to take the leap into private practice?
While there are pros and cons to both employed and self employed work, most people who make the switch to private practice and are successful think it was the best decision they ever made.
If you think you’re suited to private practice, it likely proves that you’re the kind of person who is up for the challenges and who will find the advantage far outweigh the barriers.
If this intrigues you, but you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to accelerate your path to success.
We’re Symbiosis, a medical coworking space and practice accelerator in Washington DC that helps healthcare providers with how to successfully start a private medical practice.
But if you’re not quite convinced a private practice is right for you, let’s take a look at the information on career satisfaction among employed and self employed doctors.
While trying to figure out who had more career satisfaction between employed doctors and doctors who own a private practice, a 2014 survey interviewed more than 4600 doctors.
More male doctors are in private practice than female doctors, though this is in part correlated with the age of the doctors surveyed – many female doctors are younger.
Under age 40, more than twice as many doctors are employed rather than self employed.
Doctors were asked about the benefits of starting their own clinic vs a corporate healthcare job, job satisfaction, and whether they’d recommend their current employment path to other doctors.
Who’s Switched Careers?
Over the age of 40, more doctors are self employed.
The longevity of a doctor’s career often indicates whether a doctor is more likely to start a private practice, with doctors who have been practicing for many years the most likely to branch off.
52% of doctors who now work for themselves had previously been employed doctors, while 29% had either been partners or owned previously.
Doctors who went back to employed positions after being in private practice often did so because of situations like buyouts.
Why Do Doctors Choose To Get A Corporate Medical Job?
There are many reasons doctors might choose to get a corporate medical job.
In some cases, younger physicians may go straight to employment and not consider private practice, even though starting a private practice right out of medical school is easier – and less risky – than you might think.
What They Like Most
Doctors who choose to get an employed position appreciate not having to deal with the hidden costs of starting a private practice, like billing and office management.
Some doctors prefer working in the setting of academic medicine, getting to focus more on research while still being able to participate in patient care.
What They Dislike Most
The doctors who choose medical jobs often struggle with not having control over decisions made, feeling that employment hinders their autonomy and reduces the quality of care they provide.
They also worry about layoffs and employment security.
Employed doctors often feel frustrated that they don’t get to weigh in on any management decisions.
Employed doctors also often dislike the fact that the bottom line of corporate hospitals is profit and not the health and well being of their patients.
Why Do Doctors Choose To Start Their Own Private Practice?
Doctors who open their own private practices tend to be more confident and have more expertise in their specialty than those who remain in hospital settings.
Doctors who enter into private practice also have stronger moral compasses and seek to provide their patients with a higher degree of care than normally permitted by hospital administrators.
Thus such individuals will gravitate towards what means the most to them, and as a result they’ll seek out the environment that enables them to be truly excellent doctors.
What They Like Most
Doctors who start their own practice enjoy the control they have over their practice and administrative decisions.
This means that doctors in private practice are free to enjoy the fruits of their labor without turning over everything to a hospital system.
Doctors in private practice take rightfully earned pride in knowing that they are business owners contributing to the economic and social development of their locality as well as doctors.
Finally, self employed doctors get to create a practice that is more in line with their internal needs and ethics.
What They Dislike Most
In many cases, healthcare providers who go into private practice can end up doing better financially than their corporately employed peers.
This is especially true when they deploy an effective private practice digital marketing strategy.
However, there exists a misleading impression that income security can be less reliable when you’re working for yourself.
This misleading impression can be a source of stress.
Some of the nitty gritty tasks involved in running your own practice may be consider annoying by some, like hiring and retaining medical support staff and tracking down information for billing and collecting payments.
Self employed doctors may also be challenged with maintaining work life balance as a solo healthcare provider, because it’s hard to shake the self imposed feeling of the need to always be on call.
Employed doctors and self employed doctors tend to be evenly happy with their jobs, but this conclusion may be misleading.
Doctors in private practice general come from hospital and corporate medicine setting.
They may have thought that they were satisfied and happy being an employee.
But because most doctors working as employees have never experienced private practice, their happiness working in a hospital system may be based purely on the absence of knowing there is a better alternative.
It is also equally possible that as doctors gravitate toward what fulfills their own needs, their personal happiness will be reflected in these choices.
Those who enjoy being self employed will be happier in a position where they can manage others and make their own decisions.
Who Has Greater Job Satisfaction?
Despite the general happiness being more or less even, self employed doctors report greater satisfaction with their careers and life than employed doctors.
Employed doctors are also more likely to be dissatisfied and feel more stifled by their careers, which may not be surprising considering how most hospital settings tend to treat doctors.
Most employed doctors don’t think they’ll be breaking into private practice, often having to deal with derogatory connotations as being “only a small business” or assaults on their confidence by people who don’t have the courage to seek their own path.
Still, those who make the leap are satisfied with their decisions.
Who’s Happier After Switching?
A vast majority of doctors who switched to private practice reported that they are now happier with their jobs.
In contrast to this, self employed doctors who went back to employment reported more frustration, more stress, and more dissatisfaction.
The reality of losing the advantages that come with self employment can be difficult for those who have experienced the other side.
Switching career paths can be daunting, but most doctors who enter private practice know that the risks were worth it.
Considering Starting Your Own Private Practice? Symbiosis Can Help
With a private practice, you’ll have more freedom, though you’ll have more to think about.
Why not consider exploring that freedom in the context of a medical coworking space?
In medical coworking spaces, you’ll get many of the benefits of running your own business while also having resources and assistance for the office management parts.
You’ll be pooling your resources with other doctors for greater flexibility and opportunities to network with other healthcare providers.
It can also save you time and money.
If this sounds appealing to you, don’t hesitate.