Wherein I Confront My Loyal Readers With The Truth—And A Solution

You, a physician or nurse practitioner, are not special.     You’re being asked to stare 50 hours a week at a computer to do things that you didn’t sign up for, didn’t train for and don’t feel quite right about.     So you’re burned out, disengaged and depressed.     Look around. I just described pretty much every other job out there.       Car mechanic. Civil engineer. Even my dog groomer....

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I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Thing It Means

“Paid Vacation.”     The term refers to time off you can take while still getting paid.     That’s not what most employment contracts offer.     You get time off, but since you’re not working—and you’re not generating RBVs—you aren’t getting paid.       It’s basically FMLA time, benefit coverage and not much off.       Demand for physician labor is increasing, try this the next time you evaluate your employment...

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Non-Competes

A reasonable non-compete for a clinician is in the range of 1 year and fifteen miles from your primary practice site (not the hospital or the “headquarters” or some arbitrary geographic point).     Though I’m not a lawyer, I’ve discovered anything more restrictive is difficult to enforce—although it will be expensive for you to assert your rights.     Anything more should be associated with additional compensation in addition to your market rate.  ...

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Religious Health Systems are Just Like Any Other Big Business

Recently had a client who had signed an employment contract in the past with a hospital system sponsored by a religious organization.       She was shocked to discover they treated her just like her previous employer—a for-profit system.  That is, poorly.       It doesn’t matter if your organization is for-profit, not-for-profit or sponsored by some sort of church. They’re all lead by businessmen (and they’re almost exclusively men) with the same...

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Compliance Week: What Clinicians Can Learn From the College Admission Scandal

What is your employer doing over your signature?     What data are they submitting? What charges are they being paid for?     As an employee, you’ve signed your license and billing numbers over to your employer. You’re trusting them to use them honestly.     Because if they don’t, enforcement may not only fall on them—it can fall on you.       I’m certain the defendants in the college admission scandal felt...

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Are You a Short Order Cook?

When I worked in a restaurant, the cooks were the stars. The managers respected them, the waitresses wanted them and they called the shots. I quickly came to discover, however, that the fame came with a cost. They were always the last ones out. Their day didn’t end until their jobs were complete. Me? When my shift was done, I was gone. End of story. Then I became a doctor. And I realized what being...

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Ask “What’s Your Passion?” For Professional Success

How do you connect with someone you don’t know at a professional event?     What do you say to fill that awkward silence after that introduction?     Try asking “So, what’s your passion?”     People’s favorite subject is themselves. It’s validating, something they are comfortable speaking about and a topic they desperately desire to share—especially in the uncomfortable environment of networking.     And if you ask someone about themselves it validates you...

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What They Don’t Teach You In Your Sexual Harassment Training

We had a front office employee who stole from us. On a regular basis. For over a year.     After taken care of the situation, we brought in a consultant to help us keep it from happening again.     She told us the embezzlement was our fault. We didn’t have the processes in place to prevent it. That put the employee in the position where she could steal with impunity. If we had...

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Thumbs Up

Your thumbs are subtle indications of your power.     In dealing with those in authority, make sure they’re exposed at all times.     Don’t put your hands in your pockets. If you must, leave your thumbs exposed.     Thumbs forward when you have your hands at your side.     Shake hands with your thumbs up.     Successful executives will try to establish authority during a handshake by turning their hands...

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What You Can Learn From Tribbles

Remember the episode of Star Trek where Captain Kirk met the tribbles.     Tribbles are soft, furry plushes who reproduced at an astonishing rate.     The bad-guy Klingon killed them with poison in their food—one that prevented them from absorbing nutrients. The more they consumed the poisoned food, the fewer nutrients they were able to absorb.     As Captain Kirk put it, “They starved to death. They were in a bin full...

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